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s worlds: 






VOL. 7 NO. 8 



Ryszard Horowitz's conceptual 
photograph lirst appeared 
on the cover ot the prestigious 
Photographis, an annual 
publication from Switzerland. 
Horowitz's exciting images 
are sought both by corporations 
and by private collectors. 
© 1982, by Ryszard Horowitz. 






Marvin Minsky 


IV . E_; 










Carol Johm'ann 



The Arts 

Charles Piatt 




Steve Nad Is 

and Neal BUmham 



Data Bank 




Daniel Kagan 




Scot Morris 




Barry N. Malzberg 




Ron Schultz 




Karl Hansen 


T m: -raveler 


Don Davis 




Owen Davies 




Kale Wilhelm 



UFOs, etc. 




Bradford A. Smith 
and Richard J. Terrile 




Scot Morris 




Michael Ferris 



•=, have beer- proposed "■■:■ 
lechiplog.oai unemployn- 
e introduction- cl robots ;nt 
kind q1 so! Lit ign is. simply 


: - By; Marvin iMjfisky o; : X» 

'vThepubiic ■; >;. '■• ; '- ; - 

: wants, to hear the latest ,' ; . 

thing but has 

no conception of what ' ■ 

■science is and 
■ how it got that way.*- .':■// 

■io fund the early .rel'iren; 

i ■!! ill II ;i 111' . ■■■.' i:: i ■■:>■. ".■ Oihei 

jobs. This fs not so hard to do in socials! 
eouatnes,. but ins an expensive soUton or 
a oar 'la.; si especially when is 

■ ■■ ■!! 

interest And who o there to advocate a 
longer view that reflects the-welfare Of 
worker;: iol ye' bom? . ■ . 

' .!■■■■ i, i.iv .■!.:■.. :.,. ■ 

should try to discourage people from 
■ preparing- ! or professions that are scon to 
disappear :n orOn'-ary kmes lias happens 

am v, ;,■■■,■; '.„■;,. 

siens become unprofitable. Thus, few ■ 

.,:■■,■■■ ■ ! .■ 

advance, and as technology accelerates, we 

An a>'erriat;ve woe 
cor-iiroi si!. research c i 01 i or: 

one iaroo decision moht go wrong, as- 
when the Soviet eabersho in the Thirties ■ 
snn Fori, tilowac aoN;- I . ,eoelo 

I.. I I'! /.Ml,. I ■■ '.. ■■■:■!. ..:, I 

:■'■' ' .. i ■ ■ i . i. ■ ; r i: cie'itit.iC lines, 'he 
ensile Soviet i ere i to many' 

.'ears -rem in;s mistake. 
Another way might be: to ban research 

■■ no i ■ 'i ■ ■ ■: , ' ; i: .1,1 i! !■:■'■ ,■ 

i.r iugl i : . ■ 
■carries a high price it is Impossible :o 
reis! i; an ivi i !■■ i n. ■:■■■■■■■ , from a larger 

i.',u. v ■.. And r i! one ■ ■■ 

sooaid decide iha; arkkolannlelligence • Al) 

. I';!!'! U I,;' 

at car nations won id agree. 

Cone: anything ota'rd researcn on 
compmersand AI?Thai is hard o imagine, 
shod of "he interventioooi :he kind of 
rake us revol i:i' n Min a . . ■ an! 

: Herberts D^o'Cnherwise, hive i! or not. 
robe: o and Al will eoniinije io develop.. / 
Thoo Is no one in cava: .v >c- ! i eitnei 
the wisdom 

In the long run or the power io on-ojco 
such' conclusions. History can be under 
nobody's direct control, 

';Natnra;!y : 
helpless, VV hing 

seems too massive -and drfmse to'be 
coi ry to chance 

« movement s coarse by mobilizing. 

wnateve: : ;■ a ii rces are a in. ■ 

on: : ■ ii ■ i ■■■■!■ i art] ew and .'to 
■ ! i s ■ i : ■ ■ i ■ ■ . -. its :■■ ■'.,■ along som- l> nasi :gan 
c-t time, perhaps "GO or t.000 years! 
Workers in science In general and in Al 

■ in particular el ton ask themselves about 
the consequences of their work. If robotics 
and'AI threaten o transform our future; 
who Will take respei;siphty 'or -he rjes? 

. VVi 
.possible effects of new discoveries 7 Who 

canwe trust io make our plan 
Riiih! now, there does no! seem to be anyone 
. we can depend on..' 

industries'? Today mos; of them cannot 
ever; pier; more train a few veers ahead. 
1 a-i ' I. :i .n \- ■ ■ i : ■■■ ! ■ i ilniy thai 

a company that invests ;n latere knowledge 
Wilt be. the one to reap its harvest. 

. .'i a engine as' A kv rji i ocipk 

!■■■ i ... ■!'■ ■,;■:.: I ■! ■■■■■■■;:■■ i . i. 

■;■ a ■ ■■'. '..;>" ■ ■■:! ■■,■:■. i:. i< ■.. 

of their work. The trouble with this is thai 
son::, say b 

o'P r pepph n their p "i' 1 i rnci uity 
can;,o! oe expected lo be moo socially 
responsible lhan anyone else. Scientists, as 

■ i: no '■ OC' s=!y talon.'.ed 

deciding whs: is good -or Oliver people. 
vV! a ■ , lei 'I are O' '>■ ii a nU cv-arli g 
■■■.■: i ;■ i : '.nm-.U'/ M" 

As or democracy the process 

of involving greai numbers of people in 
■Talking decisions — that works-. for easy 
problems. The coal Invention, of the secoi 
ballot can help protect the mass of individ- 
uals from special i atones; s, wnneu: ih.e 

aisai and can benefit 
the wnoic la many instances. 

Unfortunately oopufar democracy dcesoi . 

'.'■'Ii' ' -':■.. .'.1 '!.!!' ■..!:■ .!■■!■!. i 

comp-ex ano speeializec ior most voters io 

i nders me iopi, any et ed 

gove;n meni 

compensate for ignorance. 

.!■,■■ !. !!■■■.■ a ri !■ ■, ■■ i 

tists be : leve that ;i tney cculd expiam shear 
wo a a 

be; ;tter 

one on >in-o cootie: ■ , omefhiinb 
that will concern everyone, why don't 
soeinsts.ialk anon: the pertinent issues 
ano lei trie public decide'? -A 

I'hetrouPe is. tod; 
work so we: When I m asked to g've 
press conferences or media interviews 
about A!, there sometimes seems no place' . 
to start In oreei ion: 
at all. i| seems best o spend' at ieast half" 
the allotted time expialixo the simplest 

HI, ..■!'■■ i'l Ii,; !i ■ !■ I . ' a ■■ 'LO., 
waul i'. ii ■.'■ 'I'n ■,!'!■'■. i m ■ . ! .■ :a iO 

conception of what science ; s ebon' and' 
■ now ;t got that way. iJnaes- itie cifcum; 
sianceiy you smipiy car-'t explain the latest 
thing. I aftcn lino f aave to say a mtie.abcu 7 . 
what Newton and tjarwin diaeaverea 
or F'enklln, or Fiend, er A aa faring, the 
esteemicd campia i ■■■!.■■ i . ■■ ■ ■:■■ 
frequently, the '/ignorance gap'' jast seems 
impossible to eioss because our popular 
culture. is se lar icmovec from what is 

r-a ,■ ■; ,c " ■■ ■■■: .!■■!■■ !■ i 




Stereotyped phrases often seem to 
contain a kernel of truth. Example: 
One must eat to live, not live to 

eat. Or, We are what we eat. Now, however. 
a series of spectacular research findings 

may give these particular adages new 
meaning, in "Mind Nutrients," on page 36. 
freelance writer Daniel Kagan reveals 
that some nutrients can regulate the 
production of neurotransmitters, the chemi- 
cal messengers between nerve cells in 
the brain. Since neurotransmitters influence 
virtually all physiological and psychological 
functions, ordinary lood may one day 
help us to enhance learning and memory, 
alleviate depression, and even cure some 
types of disease. Already, says Kagan, 
researchers such as Richard Wurtman, of 
MIT have learned that high-carbohydrate 
meals (a breakfast of orange juice, jelly, and 
toast, for instance) can stimulate the 
neurotransmitter serotonin, which has been 
linked to depression. And by manipulating 
the amino acid choline, found in many 
protein foods, it may be possible to slow or 
stop ihe mental deterioration that charac- 
terizes Alzheimer's disease. 

Just as certain simple chemicals are the 
basis of human health and emotions, 
subatomic particles are ihe basic building 
blocks of all matter in the universe. Since 
the late Fifties, myriad particles have been 
discovered, and in the forefront of that 
effort slands'physicist Murray Gell-Mann, 
Mr. Subatomic Particle himself. To a great 
extent, colleagues say, this California 
institute of Technology scientist defined the 

10 OMNI 

subatomic world as we know it today. 

In this month's Interview, on page 54, 
writer Ron Schultz asks Gell-Mann to take 
us into the deepest realms of cosmology, 
where he is currently studying the mind- 
boggling theory of supergravity. a daring 
attempt 10 unify (our disparate forces 
that may have existed as just one force 
when the universe was formed. Supergravfty 
and its less well-known offspring, super- 
string theory, may provide a possibte 
answer to the search for symmetry among 
the forces. Physicists may yet be rewarded 
with their most grandiose dream; atheory 
that explains the oddities of the mysterious 
subatomic world. 

Schultz, who has published articles on 
topics as varied as outer space, art, and 
baseball, interviewed Gell-Mann "because 
I wanted to talk to the man who had 
discovered the fundamental building blocks 
of matter — quarks — and reinforce my 
philosophy on the nature of the universe. It 
was shortly after the interview began that 
Gell-Mann told me that everything I believed 
was wrong." Schultz is currently writing a 
book on high-pressure decision making, to 
be printed by John Muir Publications Inc., 
of Santa Fe, New Mexico. 

While experimental physicists like Gell- 
Mann peer into the subatomic world, Omni 
readers have been stealing a glimpse of 
the future. Last October, in our sixth- 
anniversary issue on Love. Work, and Play 
in the Twenty-first Century, we asked 
readers to participate in a Delphic poll, 
designed to extract their views on the world 

to come. Not long after, we sent writer 
Owen Davies to Ihe experts, those in a 
position to know what might reasonably 
occur. Davies then went on to compare 
these expert answers with yours. To see 
how you rate against specialists on issues 
ranging from longevity (When will the 
average human-life expectancy top 100 
years?) to space (When will tourists vacation 
on the space shuttle?), turn to "Scenes of 
Future Perfect" (page 76). Says Davies, 
"The big surprise was not that Omni readers 
expect a future of technological marvels 
reminiscent ol the 1939 World's Fair but that 
the experts, the scientists who are now 
building the future, gave even more daring 
forecasts than our readers did." 

Science-fiction writers also offer daring 
visions of the future, in the gentle and ironic 
story "0 Homo, Femina, Tempora" 
(page 82), Kate Wilhelm portrays an absent- 
minded professor so engrossed in his 
scientific theory lhaf he misses what's going 
on around him. Wilhelm is the winner of 
the Hugo and Nebula awards. Her latest 
book, Welcome Chaos, was published this 
spring by Berkley Books. 

In Dreams Unwind, on page 62, Karl 
Hansen explores the ominous world of mind 
control, vividly describing decadence, 
betrayal, and love among a genetically 
engineered species. And "Reason Seven" 
(page 46). by Barry N. Malzberg, is a 
chilling story about a man caught between 
love and duty in an Orwellian-type 
universe. Malzberg is a well-known science- 
fiction critic. DO 


Aye for Art 

The quality and diversity of your magazine 
amazes me! You have the perfect biend 
of science, art, fiction, and humor. When the 
new issue arrives every month, I am 
always impressed with the cartoons, inter- 
esting articles, and tremendous artwork 
throughout. Even your ads are beautiful. 

I especially want to thank you for 
publishing artists' work. Few major 
magazines recognize the importance of art 
in society. February's issue featured 
computer graoh cs ["Digital Dreams"], 
which are fascinating. The November 1984 
issue spotlighted Doug Webb's excellent 
paintings in "Dream Art." And Art Cumings's 
"The Artist" is a nice touch. Your illustrators 
are the best. Keep up the good work. 

Gail Suess 
Dorr, Ml 

Hardy Response 

As the inventor of !he penis-stiffening device 
mentioned in "Laurels (and Hardys)" 
January 1985], I find your ridicule inaccurate 
and in bad taste. Your sarcasm mocks 
the serious, worldwide problem of 
impotence and premature ejaculation. 

My patent is a breakthrough that could 
bring ]oy and happiness to many sufferers of 
sexual complications due to high blood 
pressure, diabetes, and psychological 
problems. And let's not forget the millions 
of women for whom this penis-stiffening 
device could mean fulfillment. 

Mark Pomeranz 
Jacksonville, FL 

Nuclear Eruption 

Thank you for publishing such an outstand- 
ing magazine. As usual, while reading 
Omni I was informed and amused. I was, 
however, disturbed by Eric Mishara's article 
"Nuclear-Winter Update" [Continuum, 
January 1985]. How any intelligent individual 
can doubt the possibility of nuclear winter 
seems absolutely incomprehensible. to 
me. That the major powers have thousands 
of warheads ihat could undoubtedly 
produce enough smoke and dust lo cover 
the earth may seem too fantastic to believe. 

Suppose several hundred volcanoes 
erupted within a period of about 60 minutes. 

The resulting smoke, ash, and dust also 
seem unimaginable. No one wants to think 
about this comparison or consider what 
thousands of nuclear cetcna'ions would do 
to this planet. That would just lead to ulcers 
and depression Have a nice day 

Michael Pigott 
Venice, FL 

Sweet Power 

We at the Minnesota Society for Space 
Development, in the interest of furthering 
science, have tested the triboluminescent 
properties of Life Savers, as described 
in 'A Great Mouth Trick (Sort of)," by Nick 
Engler [Continuum. February 1985], We 
crunched the following flavors: cherry, 
butter rum, tropical fruit, banana, cinnamon, 
Peppomint. and Wintogreen. Peppomint 
and Wintogreen gave off brilliant flashes; 
cinnamon gave but a small spark. The rest 
of the flavors left us in the dark. To prove 
that the triboluminescent effect is not limited 
to one brand, we tested Certs wintergreen, 
which also gave us a satisfying glow. 

We believe the results of this research 
are far-reaching. All ot the flavors that 
sparked were white. There must be a 
powerful energy source hidden in each 
Life Saver (and Certs). The white pieces 
allow that energy to be released easily. 
I believe that we now have in our pockets 
the portable energy source of the future. You 
bet your Life Savers! 

Sally Morem 
Minneapolis, MN 

Millions of Moslems 

In his article "Islamic Prayer Computer" 
[Continuum, January 1985], George Nobbe 
states that there are about 80 million 
Moslems. According to the Los Angeles 
Consulate of the Royal Kingdom of Saudi 
Arabia, the figure is closer to 800 million. 

Arch Miller 
Arcadia, CA 

Where Credit Is Due 

The picture of a computer screen impaled 
on a knife, reproduced in Omni's Artificial 
Intelligence column for November 1984, was 
developed by On-Line Software Interna- 
tional, Inc., of Fort Lee. New Jersey.DO 



Omni welcomes speculation, theories, 
commentary, dissent, and questions from 
readers in this open forum. We Invite you 
to use this column to voice your hopes 
about the future and to contribute to the 
kind of informal dialogue that provokes 
thought and generates breakthroughs. 
Please note that we cannot return submis- 
sions and that the opinions expressed here 
are not necessarily those of the magazine. 

Look—Up in the Sky 

My hearties! congraiu atie'is to Pamela 
Weintraub tor her excellent interview with 
urology's elder statesman, J. Allen Hynek 
[February 1985]. Never before has a mass- 
media publication synopsized the events, 
participants, theories, and opinions associ- 
ated with this controversial subject so 
clearly and objectively. Weintraub, unlike 
many olher journalists, enviously did her 
homework thoroughly before engaging 
Hynek in the interview. More important, 
Weintraub was lair. No snide remarks and 
no adversarial questions. Quite refreshing. 
Tom Burch 
Poolesville, MD 

Shame on you for pitting two experts in 
diverse areas of ufology against each 
other. Hynek's expertise in popularizing the 
UFO controversy's scientific aspects 
certainly has its place in ihe overall resolution 
of the matter. So, loo, does my expertise 
in documenting, analyzing, and articulating 
Ihe sociopolitical aspects — including the 
general issue of official UFO secrecy 
and the particular issue of so-called crash- 
landed and government-retrieved "saucer" 
occupants: But by inviting Hynek to assess 
my judgment in pursuing the various 
crashed-saucer accounts, Omni is merely 
exploiting the personally conliicfs that 
already cloud this controversial field. Don't 
you Ihink your readers deserve more? 

Larry Bryant 

Director, Washington, DC, office . 

Cilizens Against UFO Secrecy 

Alexandria, VA 

The interview with J. Allen Hynek was a 
breath of fresh air from one of the world's 
foremost experts on UFOs. Hynek seems 

16 OMNI 

to vacillate, however, n his opinion regarding 
UFOs' existence and capabilities. 

Case in point; While discussing the 
classic study on Betty and Barney Hill, he 
states that if is a physical impossibility 
for aliens to travel Ihe equivalent of "one 
hundred sixiy miles of playing cards" (each 
card representing the distance between 
the earth and Ihe moon). At the same time, 
he proposes that an advanced civilization 
might have the ability to project a thought 
form that can produce a three-dimensional 
image on Earth. Do we simply discard 
one fantastic theory to accept another? 

Carter Buschardt 

In an essay on language published in 
1946. George Orwell defined the word 
phenomenon as one of those pretentious 
words "used to dress up simple statements 
and give an air of scientific impartiality to 
biased judgments." 

This explains why the bloated expression 
UFO phenomenon is so popular with flying- 
saucer advocates like J. Allen Hynek. 
Such an expression overshadows the simple 

fact that nine out of ten UFO reports involve 
mistakes or hoaxes and that the few 
remaining reports have little in common 
except ihe quality ol being "unsolved." So 
what? Many robberies and murders also 
remain unsolved, but only a primitive mind 
would ascribe all such crimes to a single, 
mysterious "lawbreaker phenomenon." UFO 
advocates do not realize thai UFO sight- 
ings can be solved only as unrelated events, 
not as part of a larger "phenomenon." 

David Schroth 
St. Louis 

Hynek and a host of others are under the 
impression that given our current technology, 
it is unlikely, if not impossible, to traverse 
the vast distances between the stars. 

If a supercivilization does exist our 
unshakable foundation of physics might 
seem archaic to its members. Our under- 
standing of physics could be completely 
correct but hopelessly incomplete. 

What does it portend that these aliens 
have not contacted governments on Earth? 
It probably means they're not interested. 
What makes us think that television, lasers, 
and nuclear weapons make us number 
one on the contact hit parade? 

Shawn Bobbitt 
Martinez, CA 

I must remark on J. Allen Hynek's statements 
about my hypothesis that UFO abductees 
are reliving their birth trauma. 

Perhaps being an English teacher, I have 
a fatal flaw: a desire for consistency in 
essays and profession of views. Some 
quotes from Hynek's interview will illustrate 
my point. "I was a thorough skeptic," "It 
must be nonsense, therefore it is nonsense." 
"Ridicule is not part of the scientific 
method," "In science you do not discard 
data just because you don't like them." "This 
is just speculation of the wildest sort." "I 
don't think babies . . . would remember that 
sort oi stuff." 

' Hynek has been repeating himself for 
nearly a decade, and without some new bit 
of scientific infusion, his newfound phoenix 
will remain earthbound. 

Alvin Lawson 
Garden Grove, CADO 



■ By Carol Johmann 

□ o you think a man should steal an 
expensive drug to safe his dying 
wile if he is too poor So pay for it? 

Take a moment to ponder Ihe problem. 
How you respond, says Harvard psycholo- 
gist Carol Gilligan, may have a lot to do 
with your Sex. 

Like other researchers interested in 
studying the moral development of human 
beings, Gilligan asked her subjects to 
respond to hypothetical moral dilemmas 
like ihe one above. She also encouraged her 
subjects to speak freely about the moral 
conflicts in their own lives. But unlike Other 
researchers, including Harvard colleague 
Lawrence Kohlberg, who pioneered the 
field and formulated the above dilemma, 
Gilligan included women in her study. 
In fact, her work, presented in her book In 
a Different Voice, is the first to focus on 
women's moral decision making. Previous 
studies had either dismissed women as 
morally inferior beings or dropped them 
when their answers didn't fit the data 
obtained from males. 

What Gilligan iound is that women difier 
from- men in the way they approach mora! 
decisions. Gilhgar explans "Women believe 
morality is connected to responsibility in 
relationships, and they always assume 
a connection between self and others. Men 
tend to look at moral issues in terms of 
the rights of individuals to noninterference." 

In other words, when faced with a moral 
conflict, men focus on a set of abstract 
principles, whereas women tend to weigh 
the impact a- decision would have on the 
people involved. The woman's approach, 
argues Gilligan, is based on her awareness 
of the needs and concerns of others, an 
outgrowth of her nurturing capacity. 
According to Gilligan, it is important for a 
woman to "pay attention to everything, 
to see and to know as much as She can 
about herself and others and the situation 
so she can try to anticipate the conse- 
quences and act in a way that is least likely 
to cause suffering and hurt." 

This gender gap in moral decision making 
is strikingly illustrated by the responses of 
young children to Kohlberg's drug dilemma. 
Gilligan found that, in general, boys quickly 
decided that the man should steal the 

20 OMNI 

drug. Using a '-athlke p'ocass, the boys 
reasoned that human life has a higher 
value than property; so they chose life. In 
contrast, girls tended to see the dilemma in 
terms of complex reia tor-ships and conse- 
quences. They worried about whether 
the man would be caught and how that 
would affect his wife. They suggested 
asking the pharmacist to donate the drug 
and wondered whether Ihe husband could 
borrow the money he needed. 

In the past, the girls' approach would 
have been d sm ssed as evasive and 
wishy-washy. To Gilligan, however, it 
demonstrates a concern for finding solutions 
thai are mutually beneficial and suggests 
a well-developed and mature moral under- 
standing. Gilligan 's work is important not 
so much because t shews that women's 
decision:; are mora! y de'ensible but 
because it provides a framework for under- 
standing other observed differences 
between the sexes. 

"Gilligan makes me wonder about 
communicalion in personal relationships," 
says Dr. Julia Wood, associate professor 
of speech communications at the University 

of North Carolina, at Chapel Hill. "Often 

men and women seem to be talking past 
each other." She cites the common occur- 
rence of a couple who has just decided 
to purchase a particular item, a new car, for 
example. For the man, once the decision 
has been made, it is final. There is no need 
to discuss ii further. The woman, on the 
other hand, may still want to discuss the 
decision's ramifications: is ii really what they 
need? Will it be comfortable for every 
member of the family? This desire, says 
Wood, is rooted in the woman's sense 
of connections and her need to deal with 
all aspects of a situation. 

Marriage counselors frequently observe 
such differences between men and women 
in their need to talk. Women tend to talk 
their feelings through, examining them at 
length from every angle. Men seem curt by 
comparison. The resuli is not only poor 
communication but bad feelings. In these 
kinds of conversations, Wood concludes, 
"the men get irustraied and fed up, while the 
women feel the men are luning out and 
closing down communication." 

Not all men, of course, are insensitive, 
nor are all women open and caring. "I have 
difficulty believing that the capacity for 
these feelings is exclusively genetically 
prewired and sexually determined," says 
Wood. "More likely, it is a matter of sociali- 
zation." If so, then a keen awareness of 
the differences in the psyches of men and 
women could bring about better communi- 
calion, more understanding, and some 
major social changes. 

One area already changing as more and 
more women enter management positions 
is the American corporation. The Gilligan 
woman carries her approach to moral 
decision making into the business world. 
When confronted with a conflict on the job, 
she again is concerned about ihe people 
involved. Although she may employ the 
same rules and policies and make Ihe same' 
decision as her male colleagues, she is 
more likely to agonize over potentially 
hurtful consequences. This sense of caring 
about colleagues and employees extends 
into everyday cor-tac:s. Studies have shown 
that female administrators and executives 
tend to be more sensitive and responsive to 


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■By Charles Piatt 

In trying to visualize a world of the future, 
any serious science-fiction writer runs 
up against the language problem, It's 
possible to foresee future technology, future 
social structure — even tuture politics — 
by extrapolating from current trends. 
Language, however, is another matter: Not 
only is it totally unpredictable, but it's also 
a part of the fabric of the story itself. Too little 
future language and the work won't seem 
authentic; too much and it becomes 
incomprehensible to the average reader. 

Most writers avoid this problem by ignor- 
ing it. They compile meticulously detailed 
future worlds — full of the fantastic — 
inhabited by people talking like everyday, 
twentieth-century Americans. For example, 
Isaac Asimov's immensely successful 
Foundation series spans hundreds of 
centuries and thousands of light-years of 
the galaxy but avoids introducing a single 
word of a future dialect. 

Some science-fiction writers make a 
token gesture toward linguistic realism by 
inserting a few weird words here and 
there — choosing strange names for places 
and "characters, for example. This doesn't 
reallydeal with the language problem, 
but at least it gives the writing an exotic 
flavor that helps to distinguish this future 
world from today's. 

Very few authors develop their own 
languages. Anthony Burgess's A Clockwork 
Orange, in which teenage gangs speak 
Nadsat, a quixotic mix of Russian and 
English, is perhaps the most famous 
example. Some of this invented slang (such 
as horrorshow, derived from the Russian 
khorosho, meaning "good") even spilled over 
into real life when the movie version of the 
book was released. 

To make his future argot comprehensible, 
Burgess interspersed the slang with 
everyday English. The context implies the 
meaning. Sentences like "There were 
three devotchkas sitting at the counter all 
together, but there were four of us malchicks" 
allow a reader to pick up Nadsat 
in the same way that a visitor to France 
could learn "French — merely by being. 
exposed to the language. 

In Riddtey Walker, Russell Hoban dealt 
differently with the language problem: 

22 OMNI 

He invented words that looked strange but 
sounded like English when read aloud, 
Hoban wrote his grim vision of a devolved, 
illiterate, postapocalyptic Britain in the 
style of a wandering storyteller, using such 
semi-sentences as, "I never knowit any 1 
ben dog kilt only a kid it wer Follery Digman 
he got dog ei years back. ... He staggelt 
behyni." Many readers complained that 
this was hard to follow, even if you were 
familiar with the western England dialect 
that Hoban used as his model. Yet Riddley 
Walker was a favorite of the critics: It won 
the National Book Award. 

A book written hundreds of years from 
now might seem incomprehensible to 
us, much as some publications tram our 
time would baffle people of the past. 
Consider a citizen from a century ago trying 
to make sense of. say, TV Guide. It's clear 
enough that the magazine is about actors 
and entertainment, but it never actually 
explains its own subject matter—never tells 
us what television fs— because it assumes 
everyone already knows. 

A science -fiction writer faces a similar 
dilemma. He doesn't want to bore the 

reader with long lectures explaining his 
invented future, but at the same time he 
wonders whether the assumptions will 
make sense if they are presented as is, 
without commentary. 

Ideally, the writer concocts scenes that 
demonstrate how everything works, without 
digressing into explanations. The late 
C. M. Kornbluth was an expert at this; his 
story "The Marching Morons" (reprinted in 
abridged form in the October 1980 issue 
of Omni) uses future language to describe 
quickly and graphically the two cultures 
that have arisen. On one hand, there's the 
degenerate proletariat: "Wassamatta 
bumpinninna people likeya owna sidewalk 
gotta miner slamya inna mushya bassar!" 
On the other, the intellectual elite: "I've dee- 
probed etfind quasichance ex him Poprob- 

Alfred Bester, like Kornbluth, first made 
his reputation in the early Fifties with short 
stories that created whole future worlds. He 
did so using a minimum of phrases and 
snatches of dialogue. In addition, Bester 
played with the language of style: "Fondly 
Fahrenheit," for instance, dramatizes the 
hero's identity crisis by narrating it half from 
his point of view and half in the third 
person, so that he sometimes turns jnto / 
partway through a sentence. Bester is also 
well known for experimenting with the 
look of language on the printed page, using 
typographic patterns to depict telepathic 
.communication in one book, scrambled 
sensory input in another. His Golem 100 took 
this technique to its logical conclusion, 
merging pictures and even sheet music with 
the text. 

William Gibson, whose short stories have 
appeared frequently in Omni, has been 
called the Bester of the Eighties, Gibson 
used fragments of future add 
authenticity to his groundbreaking first 
novel, Neuromancer. This book depicts the 
East Coast of America as a seething urban 
sprawl in which ghetto poverty flourishes 
■ side by side wi:h scanisticated science. 
A strong Japanese influence is evident 
in Gibson's creative blend of real and 
imaginary consumer-goods brand names: 
Kirin, Hosaka, Yeheyuan. 

But perhaps the most interesting aspect 



By Steve Nadis and Neal Burnham 

In their mosl self-confident moments, 
scientists propose laws that specify how 
all objects — from the tiniest neutrino to 
the largest galaxy — ought to conduct 
themselves. They have told us, for example, 
how the average star should perform. 

It came as quite a shock, then, when 
astronomers recently discovered that 
a group of stars in the cluster Pleiades, lo 
the right of Orion's belt, is spinning madly in 
an intergalactic version of break dancing. 
The discovery will require astronomers 
lo revise what they know of stellar evolution. 

What was lound was a group of 18 so- 
called low-mass stars relating much faster 
than slandard models would have 
predicted. The discovery— by John Stauffer, 
Lee Hartmann, David Soderblom, and 
Neal Burnham, at Ihe Harvard-Smithsonian 
Center for Astrophysics, in Cambridge, 
Massachusetts — was made largely by 
chance. It all started when a pair of European 
astronomers, Floor van Leeuwen and Peter 
Alphenaar, reported '.ha: the light given 
off by some of the stars in the Pleiades 
cluster varied over time. In a little-noticed 
article, they suggested that these stars 

might be fast rotators and the variations in 
light came from dark spots on them. 

But the most remarkable thing about Van 
Leeuwen and Alphenaar's observations 
was nol ihat there was this variability but that 
the stars were rotating so quickly, making 
more than one revolution per day. In fact, Ihe 
fastest of the Pleiades stars, they said, 
spins around once every six hours. 
By comparison, the sun takes 25 days to 
complete one rotation. 

Harvard's John Stauffer was initially 
skeptical about Ihe new findings. He had 
been studying the Pleiades for years and 
had known about the variations. "But the 
factthat the periods [of rotation] were 
so short was unprecedented for stars [of 
this type]," he says. "It was unlike anything 
I'd ever seen before." Stauffer was inter- 
ested enough lo think the matter was worth 
investigating. So in 1982, he headed out 
to the Kitt Peak and Mount Hopkins 
telescopes, in Arizona. "I was able to 
confirm wilhin the first hour of observation 
that some of the stars were fast rotators," 
he recalls. Now he had io explain why. 

Back in Cambridge. Sta.ner pined forces 

'lergalactic comp&riior. ;,-,■■ o;oak csr,ce:i: unci Uqu<c ska!ets. 

with his colleagues and came up with a 
theory quite different from that of the 
European astronomers. The Harvard- 
Smithsonian team believed that what existed 
in the Pleiades was a group of stars that 
had just come out of a long period of 
contraction from their initial state as clouds 
of gas and dust. The stars were entering 
a more mature stage of stellar evolution, 
known as the main sequence, the Americans 
suggested. This is a relatively stable 
period, lasting throughout most of a star's 
lifetime. More than 90 percent of all the 
stars are "on the main sequence." 

As the gas and dust contracted in a 
prelude to the main sequence, the result 
was similar to the speeding-up effect 
that figure skates experience as they bring 
their feet together and draw their arms 
closer to their bodies. Break dancers also 
use this principle. When spinning on their 
backs, they curl into a tight ball to accelerate, 
as do stars, says Stauffer. "Stars would 
arrive at the main-sequence stage as rapid 
rotators because of the ice-skater effect," 
he says. This is known as the spin-up 
phase. When stars reach their peak rotational 
speeds, they start throwing off gases, 
and if the gases arc- ejected ■■vi'h sufficient 
velocity, the star begins losing momentum 
and starts io decelerate. "As soon as 
they get there, they start to slow down, or 
spin down, as it's called," Stauffer explains. 

"Because high-mass stars get to the 
main sequence first, they should be the ones 
to slow down first," he continues. This has 
been the case in the Pleiades. The heavier G 
stars (as high-mass stars are classified) 
observed in the cluster take only 30 million 
years to finish their contractions, and the 
ighter K stars take 70 million years. 

The idea that a low-mass star could 
rolate rapidly and later slow down had been 
suggested by others, but it was only a 
theory. Until Stauffer and his colleagues 
made their observations, no direct evidence 
had been lound. 

One of the great ironies of all of this, 
Stauffer points out, is that the evidence for 
this rotation has been available on photo- 
graphic plates taken 15 to 20 years ago. "It 
was there for discovery, it anyone had 
been looking for it," he says. DO 



Problem: You've spent a long, hard day in Ihe lunar mine 
shafts, digging oul ores to be sent down to Earth, and 
now you'd like to relax, have a lew beers ai the Saloon 
of the Moon, maybe go bowling at Lunar Lanes. But 
you're out of cash, and these things cost plenty.up here in crater- 
land. So what do you do? Why, you go to the" bank, of course. To 
the lunar branch of Lamar Savings and Loan, to be exact. 

The Lamar Savings and Loan Associaiion — home office in Aus- 
tin, Texas — wants to be the moon's first bank. Originally dreamed 
up as a promotional gimmick by senior vice president Laurie Pax- 
son, the "Lamar Lunar" idea is now a serious business proposition. 
"It started out a year and a half ago as part of an ad campaign — 
going into the future, using space as our corporate image," Paxson 
says. "But the more we looked into it, the more we realized that 
this was just a good business opportunity. Now it's a regular part 
of our long-term planning." It may be hard to picture moon people 
opening up checking accounts or filling out deposit slips in the 
wastes of the lunar highlands, but there are banks aboard cruise 
ships and even one in Antarctica. Why not on Earth's only natural 
satellite? "When there actually is a lunar-surface colony," Paxson 
says, "there will be a need for banking transactions of one sort or 
another. People aren't going to slop doing business with one an- 
other just because they're on the moon." 

To serve their moonside customers, Lamar will set up a branch 
office in the lunar colony that NASA plans to establish — between 
2000 and 2010— at Cayley Crater, near the site of the Apollo 16 
landing. At first the bank will be staffed by one full-time supervisor- 
teller, with additional employees to be hired as needed: Given the 
rush of applicants for NASA's astronaut slots, Lamar officials ex- 
pect no problems in finding qualified personnel for moon duty. 

There are a few obstacles, of course. In Texas, plans for any 
new banking office must be approved by the state savings and 
loan commissioner, and Lamar has filed the required "application 
for branch office" forms-. The completed document is surreal, with 
such entries as "Community to be served by this branch office 
contains approximately: 14.8 million square miles," and "Popula- 
tion of the community at the time of the last census was: 2." 

Despite these otherworldly facts and figures, Texas savings- 
and-loan. commissioner Linton Bowman has managed to keep his 
feet on the ground. "We don't consider this to be a publicity stunt," 

he says, "I think they're serious, and it will be treated as a serious 
application. We've asked the attorney general to render an opin- 
ion, and we're probably going to have hearings on it. I don't want 
to prejudge it now by saying I will or won't approve it." 

To run their application through the legal gauntlet, Lamar exec- 
utives have retained the Houston space-law firm of Dula, Shields 
& Egbert. Lawyer Art Dula approaches his task with a messianic 
fervor. "What we're talking about is utterly feasible, and I do not 
anticipate any difficulty at all in proving that we will have colonies 
on the moon — men, women, children, people born there, people 
dying there," says Dula. 'As to whether any bureaucrat will have 
nerve enough to say, 'Yes, a Texas savings-and-loan branch should 
be established on the moon,' I don't know." 

For Dula, Lamar Lunar is more than just another legal brief. It's 
part of man's first steps off the planet. "You're not going to get 
human migration into space on any large scale without commerce 
getting out there first. We want to foster the businesses that will 
take a place that's barren, worthless, and empty and transform it 
into downtown Dallas." 

If the state of Texas decides that it should be first on the moon, 
then it may one day be raking in tax dollars from the heavens. The 
corporations that do business on the lunar surface or in nearby 
space are going to be banking at close-in Cayley Crater and not 
at faraway places like New York or Paris. And you can bet that the 
first moon millionaire isn't going to salt away his money in as remote 
a place as a Swiss bank. 

Currently the bank is looking for before-tax profits of some 
$270,000 in Ihe moon branch's third year of operation. The millions 
aren't rolling in yet, but Lamar Lunar already has its first depositor. 
"I've been a space activist for most of my life." says Ben Bova, 
president of the National Space Institute, "and when I heard that 
Lamar Savings and Loan was opening a branch on the moon, it 
was a put-up-or-shut-up situation. So I put my money where my 
mouth is and opened an account with one thousand dollars. After 
all, I'm going to need walking-around money when I get up there." 

Lamar's Laurie Paxson is determined to give Bova and other 
moon investors their chance. "We anticipate our application being 
approved," she says. "Whether we get approval on the state level 
or have to go all the way through the federal government, we're 
going to get it. We are going to do this."— EDWARD REGIS, JR. 


Astronauts and others living in space wilt need special medical 
treatment. NASA is working on emergency care in zero gravity. 


An accidental explosion on 
board Ihe space station 
USA critically injures an as- 
tronaut. Tiny sensors, quickly 
placed against the injured 
astronaut's skin, precisely 
monitor his condition so that 
a mini-medical computer 
can rapidly make a diagnosis 
and prescribe the treatment 
that saves the astronaut's life. 

This imaginary scene is 
likely to actually happen 
in the 1990s, with the advent 
of manned NASA space 
stations and the movement of 
growing numbers ol people 
into space. In fact, NASA 
has begun to create the 
technology for medical treat- 
ment, and even surgery, in 
the zero gravity of space. 

'The space stations will be 
accessible only by space 
shuttle," surgeon and NASA 
consultant Dr. John Siegel 
says, "and it takes fourteen to 
twenty-one days to ready 
a shuttle for flight. So without 
the capability to care for 
the seriously sick and injured 

28 OMNI 

while they're in space," he 
says, "you're condemning 
these people to death." 

Dr. Siegel is clinical director 
of theshock-and-trauma 
center at the University of 
Maryland, in Baltimore. That 
center has been awarded 
a NASA contract to develop 
a minicomputer and sensors, 
like those just described, 
which will enable the astro- 
naut-physicians of tomorrow 
to cope with a wide variety 
of medical problems. 

NASA, Dr. Siegel says, is 
also looking into zero-gravity 
surgery techniques (for 
instance, the patient might 
be operated on through 
a plastic barrier to keep his 
blood from floating away), as 
well as the development of 
a special pump-driven I.V. 
bottle (because those used 
on Earth won't drip in zero 
gravity). — Eric fvlishara 

"Anybody, almost, can make 
a beginning: The difficulty 
is to make an end — to do 
what cannot be bettered. " 
— George Bernard Shaw I 


Intrigued by the relationship 
between creativity and 
madness, a professor of psy- 
chiatry al UCLA spent a 
year studying the behavior of 
47 British painters, novelists, 
playwrights, poets, and 
sculptors and discovered 
what a lot of us have long 
suspected: A creative person 
is 35 times more likely to 
need treatment for a severe 
mood disorder than the 
person is. 

'People have noticed for a 
long time that there is a 
relationship between creativ- 
ity and madness." says Dr. 
Kay Jamison, whose study 
was conducted at Oxford 
University from 1982 to 1983. 
"There are a disproportionate 
number of artists who are 
literally insane or at least 
pushing the edge. Serious 
depression and manic- 
depressive illness appear in 
about six percent ol the 
general public, but more than 
half the people in Ihe study 
had received treatment 
for mania or depression." 

Dr. Jamison's project origi- 
nally was to locus on the 
episodic work spurts and 
seasonal patterns of creativity 
among those who make a 
living "waiting for Ihe Muses." 
As her work progressed, 
she noted mood swings that 
were often accompanied 
by a decreased need for 
sleep, heightened energy, 
grandiosity, euphoria, and 
suicidal depression, 

As a group, poets suffered 
the most severe forms of 
disturbance. Almost 20 per- 
cent of the 18 poets studied 
suffered at least one manic- I 

depressive episode serious 
enough to have required 
hospitalization, and more than 
half said they had undergone 
psychotherapy or taken 
medication for their hypo- 
mania or depression at least 
once. Eight of the 16 play- 
wrights had- been in therapy 
at some point, and more 
than a fourth had used anti- 
depressant drugs for their 
mood disorders. The figures 
were equally unsettling for 
ihe painters, novelists, and 
sculptors who participated in 
the study. 

Dr. Jamison's findings wilt 
be published later this year by 
Ihe Oxford University Press 
in a book entitled Manic 
Depressive Illness. She says, 
"I have no reason to believe 
that the British are different 
from Americans in the crea- 
tive arts." That's a theory 
she'll have a chance to prove 
because she plans a similar 
study in Los Angeles, which 
she describes as tempting 
"because Los Angeles 
is a whole mountain of crea- 
tivity." — George Nobbe 

"The pistol of my talent I fired 
straight at my own heart. " 

— Veronica Geng 

Van Gogh: His mood swings 
to many artists. 

A new gluelike material made from blood components c. 
surgeons put people bach together without using suture 


Surgeons in this country 
will be gluing people back 
together like living dolls, 
if tests of a substance being 
used in Vienna prove out. 
The naturally derived "fibrin 
sealant" joins animal tissues 
and promotes healing, avoid- 
ing the bleeding, pain, and 
tearing of needles and 

Doctors who have tried the 
glue on animals are "thrilled." 
says Mary Ellen Luczun, 
the nurse in charge of Ihe 
clinical testing at Immuno-US, 
the manufacturer. The fibrin 
sealant is applied in droplets 
or sprayed on the areas to 
be joined and forms a white, 
rubbery mass that holds 
the two sides together. 

The glue contains fibrino- 
gen, the substance in human 
blood that causes clotting, 
and it works by simulating a 
normal clot. Because it 
sets faster an'd forms a 
stronger adhesive, however, 
it more effectively controls 
bleeding. The white clot, 

really a blood clot with the 
red cells missing, eventually 
dissolves and is absorbed 
by the body just like an 
ordinary clot. 

"It's going lo be a great 
thing," Luczun says. 'As 
a nurse, I've seen surgeons 
stuck in the operating room 
for hours on end trying to 
control bleeding." The stuff 
will be especially helpful 
in rejoining tissue in which 
the blood vessels are too tiny 
to suture. Livers or spleens 
that have been ruptured 
in accidents, for instance, 
can't always be sewn to- . 
gether and often have to be 
removed. And a Viennese 
surgeon used the glue to re- 
pair a smashed kneecap- 
One eye surgeon here who 
has tried the glue on animals 
is greatly impressed. D. - 
Jackson Coleman, of Cornell 
Medical Center, is "very 
excited by its potential to seal 
large holes in the retina." 
The glue, he expects, will fill 
such holes "like a rubber 
plug in an automobile tire." 

—Anthony Livers Idge 


Marine basic training, 
everyone knows, is tough on 
recruits. What most people 
don't appreciate is that 
it's pure hell for the drill in- 

Think about it: A drill 
sergeant works rigidly 
scheduled 11 -week shifts, 
getiing not more than five or 
six hours of sleep a night 
with only five days off. During 
that time, he has to be consist- 
ently "firm but fair" with 
anywhere from 50 to 90 sev- 
enteen- and eighteen-year- 
old boys, many of whom 
arrive thinking they're pretty 
hot stuff and then discover 
they can't make it through the 
obstacle course. Then, two 
weeks after one group is 
graduated, another fresh 
batch of teens arrives. 

Raymond W. Novaco, of 
the University of California at 
Irvine, and Irwin G, Sarason. 
of the University of Washing- 
ton, followed five classes 
of drill instructors for two 
years, periodically testing 
Ihem for signs of stress, 
including elevated blood 
pressure and heart rate, 
anxiety, anger, and low toler- 
ance for frustration. They 
found that the drill instructor's 
job is indeed an exception- 
ally stressful one. They also 
found thai the drill instructors 
who exhibited the strongest 
stress reaclions were the 
poorest leaders. 

Performance rates among 
their recruits were towest, 
and attrition rates were 
highest. The upshot: The two 
psychologists developed a 
program to teach marine drill 
sergeanfs seven key stress- 
coping skills. 

The core of the program, 
now being implemented 
in drill-instructor schools in 
San Diego and Parris Island, 
South Carolina, consists of 
six videotapes dealing with 
various aspects of stress 
in the life of a drill sergeant: 
frustration, anger, impa- 
tience, anxiety, family prob- 
lems, and recruit evaluation. 
Each of these themes is 
illustrated by a specific train- 
ing situation. 

Frustration, for example, is 
shown in the context of 
physical training. Among the 
problems addressed is the 
queslion: "How does the drill 
instructor respond to the 
recruit who can't get over the 
wall?" Calmly and wisely, 
the tape suggests. It's beiter 
for everyone's career. 

—Leah Wallach 

"There seems to me very 
little ground lor general 
contentment. I fear the con- 
tented man. I fear him, be- 
cause there is no progress 
unless there is discontent. " 

— John R Marquand 

"Everything great in the 
world comes from neurotics. " 
— Marcel Proust 

Drill instructor: A life of anxiety, 
anger, and stress. 



Counting the number of 
different words a defendant 
used at various times during 
testimony at a rape trial, a 
University of Florida student 
concluded that the accused 
was guilty. Though the stu- 
dent did not know it, a jury 
had agreed. 

The student made her 
decision using a method de- 
vised by University of Florida 
linguist Ronald Carpenter. 
She divided the defendant's 
testimony into 50-word 
blocks and found that he 
jumped from an average use 
of 35 different words per 
block to 42 when he was giv- 
ing his alibi. 

"When you talk normally, 
without stress, you tend 
to repeat words fairly often," 
Carpenter explains. "When 
you feel a need to be careful 
about a statement that may 
be self-incriminating, your 
phrasing is no longer sponta- 
neous. The number of differ- 

30 OMNI 

ent words you speak goes 
up," he says, "because you 
choose words you wouldn't 
normally use." 

Asked io perform his 
statistical analysis on testi- 
mony a witness gave on two 
difterent occasions during 
a North Carolina murder 
case, Carpenter used his 
method to correctly surmise 
thai the witness was granted 
immunity before testifying 
a second time. 

When he applied the test 
to Richard Nixon's Checkers 
speech, Carpenter found 
that [he former president 
"jumped way up on the scale" 
as he lied about his wife's 
birthdate and maiden name 
toward the end of [he plea. 

"I wouldn't say it's a method 
of lie detection," says Car- 
penter, "but it's ctose. It's a 
good means of alerting 
investigators Io a suspect's 
most cautiously composed 

"The beauty of the 
method," which Carpenter 
calls type-token ratio, "is that 
it taps the very subtle style 
or pattern of what someone 
says. People may control 
[heir emotions or outward ap- 
pearance when they're not 
telling the truth, but there's no 
likely way to control the 
pattern in which they speak 
naturally." — Allan Maurer 

"/ can believe the impossible, 
but not the improbable. " 

— G. K, Chesterton 


It looks like the Genex 
Corporation will market the 
first over-the-counter product 
made. using recombinant 

DNA: a really good clogged- 
drain cleaner. 

At present, Genex makes 
a cleaner called Proto, which 
contains the enzyme alkaline 
protease, a substance that 
dissolves drain -stopping hair 
into solution in two to six 
hours. Genex was the first 
company to apply this partic- 
ular enzyme to the task of 
dissolving hair and also the 
first to separate protease 
from Ehe bacterium that pro- 
duces it. 

"We've isolated the en- 
zyme," company spokesper- 
son Shellie Roth explains. 
"The other products use the 
whole microorganism, so 
they're not as effective," she 

Now Genex wants to go 
one step further. I! hopes to 
be [he first company to 
make an enzymatic product 
by reprogiamming DNA. 

The alkaline protease in 
todays Proto is harvested 
from the bacteria that pro- 

duce it naturally. Company 
researchers have cloned the 
gene for the enzyme and 

would like to use it to make 
freak bacteria [hat would 
churn out large quantities of 
the hair-digesting stuff. But 
Genex doesn'l know when the 
new and more economical 
manufacturing process will go 
into operation. 

"There are too many its," 
Roth says. "The government 
is one of the. biggest. Right 
now it's assumed the EPA is 
the agency that will need 
to approve if. but trial's not 
even certain. . . ." 

Genex foresees a future 
when government regulatory 
procedures are clear and 
one-celled Mr. Cleans are 
busy providing American 
homes with biomuscle. 

— Leah Wallach 

"The purest and most 
thoughtful minds are those 
which love color the most. " 
— John Ruskin 

Dirty sinks may be the target of the first over-the-counter 
recombinant-DNA product— a powerful clogged-drain cleaner. 

Mirrors could make hurricane 
damage a menace of the past. 


Don't like the weather? 
Want to do something about 
it? A Texas economist says 
nature's atmospheric whims 
could be brought firmly and 
finally under human control by 
placing huge mirrors in orbit 
around the earth. 

"What drives the weather 
patterns of the globe," ex- 
plains Daniel Marsh, of the 
University of Dallas and 
the National Center for Policy 
Analysis, "is essentially the 
light of the sun. The sun 
heats the oceans — mostly at 
the equator, least of all at 
the poles. These temperature 
differences drive the air 
currents that form the basis 
of our weather. 

"If space mirrors were 
sufficiently large," Marsh says, 
"they could focus enough 
sunlight on the earth to create 
artificial weather patterns." 

According to Marsh's 
scheme, lightweight reflecting 
panes of aluminum and 

lar could be launched by 
a series of shuttles and 
assembled in low orbit. A 
bank of mirrors three miles 
across would be sufficient to, 
say, burn off fog at major 
airports — "a relatively small 
task," in Marsh's view. Larger 
mirrors could heat enough 
air to cause a high-pressure 
area in a hurricane zone, 
bumping storms away like an 
Aeolian pinball machine. 
And superhuge orbiting mir- 
rors focused on offshore 
oceans could create water 
vapor, which could then 
be carried by trade winds to 
bring rain to such drought- 
plagued areas as Ethiopia. 
So far, neither NASA nor 
the National Weather Service 
has expressed much inter- 
est. All's the pity, says Marsh, 
because the whole thing 
could be accomplished for a 
mere $35 billion — about 
the cost of a fleet of B-1 
bombers. — Bill Lawren 

"Next to being right in this 
world, the best of ail things is 
to be clearly and definitely 

— Thomas Henry Huxley 


Since the beginning oi 
space travel, space food has 
been something of a sore 
point between astronauts and 
ground control. During the 
Skylab missions, the crews 
griped continuously about the 
blandness ot the meals. 
The second crew (Lousma, 
Bean, and Garriot) stowed 
away a variety of spices and 
condiments, including horse- 
radish'and Tabasco sauce 
to doctor the irradiated 
cusine. But once in space. 

the spices seemed to lose 
their zing. 

Several theories have 
been tendered to explain this 
phenomenon: Smell doesn't 
travel quickly in the low 
atmospheric pressure of a 
space station; atid since 
taste and smell are entwined, 
all food seems bland. Also, 
in the absence of gravity, 
body fluids pool in the head 
and chest. This congestion 
prevents astronauts from 
smelling and tasting their 
food. Increase the atmos- 
pheric pressure and relieve 
the congestion, and taste 
should return to normal. 

Recently, however, the 
Soviet space program has 
presented new findings 
on taste in space. According 
to Dr. S. Baranski, of the 
Military Institute of Aviation 
Medicine, in Poland, "during 
prolonged spaceflight, 
both endocrine and metabolic 
shifts occur that may also 
influence the overall perform- 

ance of the taste organ," 

Baranski and his team devel- 
oped an electrogustometer 
to measure the receptivity of 
cosmonauts' taste buds 
aboard Soyuz 30 and 31. With 
this apparatus, the Soviets 
measured sometimes dra- 
matic changes in "taste 
thresholds" in orbit. 

Baranski's findings, if they 
hold up, may have a pro- 
found impact on the mental 
health of space crews during 
prolonged spaceflights. 
Social scientists have ob- 
served that food takes on a 
new importance for people 
confined to close quarters, 
Mealtime becomes a neces- 
i sary release from the bore- 
dom imposed by the environ- 
ment; cooks aboard 
submarines and at Antarctic 
stations take on an elevated 
social status. If normal adap- 
tation to weightlessness 
includes a loss of taste, life in 
space will lose much of 
its savor. — Nick Engler 



Drag onf lies, which have 
been flitting across the 
landscape for 250 million 
summers, may provide clues 
that could lead to a revolution 
in aircraft design. 

Researchers at the Univer- 
sity of Colorado at Boulder 
are studying how dragonflies 
create and use unsteady 
aerodynamics -to stay in the 
air. Birds and aircraft utilize 
steady-state aerodynamics — 
the smooth flow of air over 
the upper wing surfaces, 
which creates a difference in 
air pressure between the 
upper and lower surfaces — 
to provide lift. 

The dragonfly, by contrast, 
uses two pairs of semirigid 
wings to generate local flows 
of air that are different from 
the surrounding atmosphere. 
It then uses the miniaiure 
vortexes, created in these 
unsteady flows, to fly. 

Dragonflies, according to 

32 OMNI 

Marvin Lutlges, professor 
of aerospace engineering 
science, can hover with little 
effort and fly backward, 
sideways, and forward 
al speeds up to 60 miles per 
hour. More important, their 
lift coefficient — the ratio of lift 
to wing surface — is six. A 
typical small aircraft has a lift 
coefficient of one, and a 
high-periormance plane's 
coefficient is two. 

Luttges is studying dra- 
gonflies because.they are 
relatively simple creatures 
compared with birds. Hum- 
mingbirds are also quick and 
can change directions in 
midair, but they alter their 
basic configuration in doing 
so. "Not only do the bird's 
wings move in flight, but 
every feather that changes 
place, every slight bending of 
a wing, creates a different 
wing shape in aerodynamic 
terms." he explains. "The 
geometry of the dragonfly is 
simpler, but what makes it 

complex is that we don't 
understand the overall princi- 
ples used." 

Luttges and fellow re- 
searchers Donald Kennedy, 
Peter Freymuth. and C. Y. 
Chow hope to develop new 
wing designs for high-per- 
formance military aircraft, and 
safety devices for commer- 
cial airliners. They are explor- 
ing the use of robotic aircraft 
wings that would respond 
instantly to sudden air gusts 
over one wing, a situation 
that can cause a plane 
to crash. — Joel Schwarz 

"The hell with criticism. Praise 
is good enough for me. " 

— Tailulah Bankhead 


Larry Slot, a grad student 

at MIT. had a problem that 
most parents face: what 
to give his kids for Christmas. 
"I wanted it to be educa- 
tional, and I wanted it to give 
them higher values, an 
urge to do something about 
human problems," he says. 

His solution: do-it-yourself 
gene splicing. Slot's Dr. 
Cloner's Genetic Engineering 
Home Cloning Kit has all 
you need to grow bacteria 
and to transfer a gene from 
one species to another. 

It's so simple a child can 
do it. You starl by growing 
cultures of two bacteria 
found in the mouth: Strepto- 
coccus saiivarius, which 
live by digesting sucrose, and 
Streptococcus mitt's, which 
have little use for the sugar. 
Rupture the S. saiivarius cells 
with lysozyme, then break 
uptheDNA and purify the 
pieces with gel electrophore- 
sis, the standard technique. 

Finally, use calcium chloride 
(road sail) to insert the right 
piece into S. mitis. Suddenly 
S. mitis eat sucrose. 

It's not much of an accom- 
plishment unless you like 
bad breath — get the engi- 
neered bugs in your mouth 
and you'll be able to kill 
cockroaches without a 
spray — but Slot hopes that 
bigger things will eventually 
come of it. 

"Before college, I was a 
bush pilot in Honduras," 
he says. "I saw a lot of human 
misery there and in Africa 
as well Biotechnology is our 
only hope of dealing with 
starvation, pollution, resource 
depletion, and many other 
problems that face us. In fact, 
I came home and became 
a biologist in order to do 
something about that. 

"But most biologists are 
after more certain profits. 
Companies just aren't inter- 
ested in getting nd of pollu- 
tion. That's where children 
come in. They're idealistic 
and creative. If we provide the 
technology to do something 
about these problems, they'd 
find answers." 

In the long run, Slot hopes 
to see a generation of self- 
taught gene hackers change 
the world, just as computer 
hackers have done, if that 
prospect holds any dangers, 
they do not worry him. "It 
would be possible for some 
demented person to make a 
weapon that would hurt a 
lot of people," he says, "but 1 
don't think that you could 
wipe out humanity or anything 
like that. The stories about 
such things, which circulated 
a few years ago, were really 

Neither does he expect 

trouble from the Environmen- 
tal Protection Administration. 
charged with regulating 
genetic experiments. "These 
bacteria exchange Iheir 
genes all the time in nature," 
he says, "so this particular 
experiment is exempt from 

Slot has since left MIT to 
market some research 
equipment he designed and. 
of course, his handy home- 
cloning kit. 

Alas, the kit was not avail- 
able for Christmas. Slot is 
still working to bring the price 
down to its intended retail 
cost of $100. — Owen Davies 

"Lou Gehrig came down with 
Lou Gehrig's disease. What 
are the odds of that happen- 

— Don Ross 

"The avoidance of taxes is 
the only intellectual pursuit 
that still carries any reward. " 
— John Maynard Keynes 


An offshore oil well in the 
frozen Arctic blows out, 
pumping millions of gallons 
of thick crude oil up to the 
surface of the frigid water and 
coating ice floes for miles 
around. The oil spill could 
become an environmental 
catastrophe, threatening 
whales and other sea life, as 
well as the region's abundant 
population of sea birds. 

A helicopter comes clatter- 
ing over the gooey oil spill, 
carrying a pair of moderately 
powerful lasers. Invisible 
infrared beams lance down 
to the oil spill, and within 
a second or two the oil begins 
to burn furiously. The heli- 
copter departs, and a few 
hours later the last of the 
spilled oil has burned off. The 
Arctic environment is safe 
once again. 

That scene may become 
reality within a few years 
because lasers offer a safer 

and more efficient way to 
combat oil spills. 

Usually, when cleanup 
crews decide to burn off an 
oil spill in the ocean, they use 
pyrotechnic igniters — minia- 
ture incendiary bombs. 
Bui if the oil spill is in very 
cold water or if the spill 
has separated into many 
different pools, it could take 
hundreds or even thousands 
ol pounds of pyrotechnic 
igniters to get the job done. 
Lasers can ignite the oil more 
efficiently, meaning lower 
costs for the cleanup. And 
carrying a laser in a helicop- 
ter is far safer than carrying 
1,000 pounds of explosives. 

This is the conclusion 
reached by scientists at 
Physical Sciences. Inc., a 
small research company in 
Andover, Massachusetts. 

"One of the most difficult 
situations." says Peter Neboi- 
sine, who is heading the 
research effort at PSl, "is 
when a tanker begins leaking 
oil without the crew realizing 
it until several days later. 
The trail of spilled oil could 
stretch out over a hundred 
miles or more." 

In such a case, the oil 
would have formed a huge 
number of separate pools. 
Perhaps thousands of igniters 
would be necessary— as 
opposed to a single helicop- 
ter and its lasers, which 
can ignite a pool of spilled oil 
in a few seconds. 

PSI's researchers have 
experimented with two lasers 
used in tandem: a continu- 
ous-wave (CW) laser, which 
heats the oil and begins*to 
vaporize its topmost layer, 
and then a powerful pulsed 
laser, which ignites the 
vapor and sets the still-liquid 

oil beneath it ablaze. Their 
laboratory experiments have 
used a CW carbon dioxide 
laser with a power output 
of a few hundred watts and a 
pulsed laser with a peak 
power of one megawatt for a 
one -microsecond pulse. 

"We'll be ready for a 'back- 
yard' demonstration soon." 
says Nebolsine, who is 
looking forward to a test in 
Canada in a man-made 
water-ice pond. — Ben Bova 

"Whatever the sun may be. it 
is certainly not a ball o! 
flaming gas." 

—D. H. Lawrence 

"A great swindle of our time is 
the assumption that science 
has made religion obsolete. 
Alt science has damaged 
is the story of Adam and Eve 
and the story of Jonah and 
the Whale. Everything else 
holds up pretty well, particu- 
larly the lessons about fair- 
ness and gentleness. " 

— Kurt Vonnegut. Jr. 




Is your family domicile 
fiush with sewage -disposal 
devices? Do you have a 
tub you can call your own? 
Before you sink that extra 
cash into a new car or sound 
system, you might choose 
to invest in a second bath- 
room, especially if you have 
children. So says a survey 
conducted by Marjorie 
A, Inman. of Purdue Universi- 
ty's School of Consumer 
and Family Sciences. 

Inman and graduate stu- 
dent Margie Sinn interviewed 
a total of 200 families. Ac- 
cording to Inman. couples 
whose dwelling included 
more than one bathroom felt 
happy, safe, and contented 
and perceived their homes as 
pleasant, homey, spacious, 
comfortable, convenient, and 
organized. They felt they 
had achieved their desired 

Those in a home with only 
one bathroom felt more 
hemmed in. resigned, and 
indifferent and considered the 
place impersonal. Far from 
reflecting the qualities of 

home sweel home, the single- 
bathroom dwellings were 
rated as noisy, confining, de- 
pressing, stressful, and 
crowded. Couples with chil- 
dren reported even more 
stress than did those without 

In each family, husband 
and wife completed two 
questionnaires containing 
scales to measure environ- 
mental perceptions, attitudes, 
stress, and adaptations to 
stress. Families' incomes, job 
levels, and size of dwelling 
covered a wide range 
Though the tests' perspective 
was environmentally broad, 
the number of bathrooms 
stood out among the results 
as "one small, isolated section 
that seems to be very, very 
important," comments Inman. 
Why the bathroom? 

"Privacy seems to be of 
greatest concern to families 
with a single bathroom," says 
Inman. "The number of 
bathrooms in a dwelling af- 
fects the family's social 
climate and attitudes toward 
the home." In small living 
spaces, "even an extra half- 
bathroom can make a big 
difference, if it's a toilet and 
sink." — Roopa fvlorosani 

Family waiting lor the bathroom: No matter what your income or 
job level, a second bathroom may be the ultimate key to happiness. 

34 OMNI 


It's a clear plastic bubble — 
the size of the end of a 
man's thumb — with a pencil- 
thin hole in it. Stick it in a 
partially deaf ear and it may 
work better than a $500 
electronic aid. 

The bubble, designed by 
Richard L Goods, professor 
of surgery at Stanford Uni- 
versity, outperforms electronic 
hearing aids for many people 
who have only partial hearing 
loss. This is because it 
boosts frequencies in the 
range of the voice — 1000 to 
2500 cycles per second 
(cps)— without amplifying 
background noise, which 
typically occurs further up 
the sound spectrum "What 
we've done is miniaturize 
the ear trumpet," Goode says. 

The 10-to15-decibel 
improvement is about the 
same as the effect produced 
by a hand cupped against 
the head. It occurs because 
the device, which is individ- 
ually fitted to — and nestles 
inside — the helix of the 
ear, changes the opening 
size and volume of the cavity, 
shifting its resonant fre- 
quency downward from the 
4000- to the 2800-cps range. 
This has the effect of mini- 
mizing the higher-frequency 
background sounds. In res- 
taurants and at cocktail 
parties, it works better than 
more powerful electronic 
aids because it selects vocal 
sounds and ignores noise. 

The bubble measures 
5 cubic centimeters and has 
only a small cosmetic advan- 
tage over an ordinary hear- 
ing aid. Unless your hair 
is long enough to cover it, 
you may at first sight seem to 

have soap in your ear. But 
it doesn't need batteries 
every fortnight, and electronic 
feedback won't squeal next 
to your eardrum if your fingers 
fumble a volume control. 

At present the bubble — 
priced at $90 — is available 
only to people who journey to 
San Jose, California. That's 
where the Innovative Hearing 
Corporation makes and 
dispenses the device, chris- 
tened the Innovaid 600. 
Demand is so intense, how- 
ever, that there are plans 
to open 65 clinics around the 
United States during the 
next two years, according to 
Erin Bentiey, the firm's mar- 
keting manager. "We've had 
people fly in from the East 
Coast just to buy the de- 
vice." — Anthony Liversidge 

"I'm not afraid of death. I 
have no feelings about it. But 
I don't believe in a superior 
power and that we will all 
endup hovering above. Hon- 
estly, that's crazy." 

— Marlene Dietrich 




T!!ni9i-& : ~ 

U;-.F : ■ . ■ ' * :. - 

:-. ■■ ■ ■ : ..■! h the ami 

!,■:■:;•■ i-Nv >■■■■■;■-■' ■ ■ 
oe cen d! the protein in w ds but th? ham 
: : ■-;:->> ;;: -" t=" ;: : C-i :.y v ■ ■ '.■■ ■"..■" 

would con*; 3hou!a 

the soldier s be &■■./ o , :s.:"j r. . . .-Hack, thety- 
. rosins would increase production of the brain 
"chemical norepinephrine. The extra surge of 


norepinephrine would boost the soldiers to 
a lifesaving state of readiness, helping ihern 
defeat enemy troops. After the viclory, 
moreover, those with wounds could use the 
excess norepinephrine to balance blood 
pressure and to counter shock. 

This fanciful scenario is based on a prem- 
ise jarring in its simplicity: that certain nu- 
trients in our diet can have a direct effect on 
the production of brain neurotransmitters, the 
chemical messengers that carry signals from 
one nerve cell to the next. Neurotransmitters 
like norepinephrine, in fact, transmit the nerve 
impulses that control all emotions, percep- 
tions, and bodily functions. These chemi- 
cals are, essentially, responsible for just 
about everything we do and feel. 

Neurotransmitters come in dozens of va- 
rieties, all in relative balance in (he healthy 
brain. And standard belief has been that the 
brain maintains that balance itself, adjusting 
neurotransmitter levels independent of input 
from the rest of the body or the world. But 
now research coming out of the Massachu- 
setts Institute of Technology, Harvard, and 
the University of London indicates that such 
neurotransmitters as norepinephrine fluc- 
tuate in direct response to the type and 
amount of nutrients in our blood. 

Though many of these findings have not 
yet been verified in humans, the implica- 
tions are extraordinary. For just as tyrosine 
might be able to boost norepinephrine, which 
heightens alertness, an increase in other 
everyday nutrients might enhance learning 
and memory, ease pain, induce sleep or 
wakefulness, curb appetite, and have a 
powerful effect on mood. Moreover, re- 
searchers say, if we can use common nu- 
trients to manipulate neurotransmitters, we 
may be able to treat maladies including ma- 
nic depression, Alzheimer's disease, and 
high blood pressure. 

The potential for use — and abuse— of the 
nutrients that affect neurotransmitter pro- 
duction is so vast that some experts advis- 
ing the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) 
insist we begin to regulate these sub- 
stances. Until now, the FDA has monitored 
only drugs— used purely for medical appli- 
cations — and food. But by year's end there 
may be regulations governing substances 
called medical foods, consisting of foods and 
nutrient chemicals that could be used to al- 
ter mood and treat disease. 

Perhaps the most prominent of the medi- 
cal foods are the nutrients known as precur- 
sors, so named because they give rise to 
neurotransmitters in the brain. Precursors 
and the transmitters they spawn have fas- 
cinated scientists ever since the turn of the 
century, when researchers realized that 
chemicals could help one nerve cell com- 
municate with the next. Searching for these 
magic messenger substances, brain re- 
searchers eventually managed to isolate. 
norepinephrine, epinephrine, and dopa- 
mine, which they classified in a group called 

Then, in 1909, a German biochemist 
named Casimir Funk noticed a structural 
similarity between epinephrine and tyro- 

38 OMNI 

sine, an amino-acid component of protein 
foods. Funk concluded that the transmitter 
was derived from the nutrient, Ihus identify- 
ing the first nutrient precursor for a chemical 
in the brain. 

Research on these substances contin- 
ued, but progress was agonizingly slow. Fi- 
nally, in 1950, a Swedish biochemist named 
A. Lund used fluorescenl light to measure 
the minuscule amounts of neurotransmitter 
produced by the brain. Using this tech- 
nique, doctors proved that Parkinson's dis- 
ease was caused by a deficiency of the neu- 
rotransmitter dopamine. By loading their 
patients with a precursor to dopamine, they 
could mitigate the disease. 

But treatment for Parkinson's disease was 
just the beginning. Scientists were starting 
to understand other neurotransmitters and 
their nutrient precursors, too. In the early 
Sixties, for instance, the biochemist and No- 
bel laureate Julius Axelrod, head of a lab at 
the National Institutes of Health, studied such 
neurotransmitters as serotonin — implicated 

iWhat do 
carbohydrates do for these 

people? Exactly what 
antidepressant drugs do: 

They improve 

mood, diminish sensitivity 

to negative 

stimuli, ease the way to sieep.^ 

in abnormalities from depression to insom- 
nia — and acetylcholine, whose level is con- 
spicuously reduced in those with Alz- 
heimer's disease. Axelrod's ambitious goal 
was to establish the mechanisms by which 
neurotransmitters were formed and re- 
leased. And he had given part of the prob- 
lem to a crack young neuroendocrinologist 
and physician named Richard Wurtman. 

Wurtman's piece of the puzzle seemed 
narrow enough: He was trying to figure out 
how the brain might control the ebbs and 
flows of certain chemicals in the body at 
large. After a while, he began to focus al- 
most entirely on two substances: the amino 
acid tyrosine, introduced into the body in the 
form of protein foods; and the enzyme tyro- 
sine transaminase, which breaks down the 
tyrosine that has been consumed. 

To do his experiment, Wurtman kept or- 
dinary laboratory rats on a standard diet and 
charted the chemical composition of their 
blood. Soon he noticed that each evening 
after dark, the level of tyrosine transaminase 
increased by a factor of five. 

Figuring that the enzyme was controlled 
by the brain, Wurtman removed the pituitary 
gland from several rats. Normally, the pitui- 

tary, a bulblike structure in the-center of the 
brain, stimulates the production of enzymes. 
The operation should have broken the nightly 
rhythmic increase in the enzyme, but the 
cycle rolled on, unchanged. 

Wurtman was still working on the problem 
when, in 1967, he moved to MIT. There he 
met the renowned Dr. Harnish Munro, a 
member of the school's nutrition depart- 
ment. "Since he was down the hall from me, 
I started to learn a little about nutrition from 
him," Wurtman relates. "He told me that when 
animals eat, amino acids travel from the in- 
testine to the liver, where they induce the for- 
mation of enzymes." 

Investigating- the lead, Wurtman learned 
thai the amino acid tyrosine had in fact ar- 
rived in the liver, inducing the production of 
the enzyme tyrosine transaminase. Further- 
more, since rats are nocturnal and eat only 
after dark, it made sense that the enzyme 
surged at night. Thus, Wurtman reasoned, 
the level of tyrosine in the blood was con- 
trolled not by the brain, as had long been 
thought, but directly by diet. The same might 
be true for other amino acids as well. 

Wurtman's team at MIT went on to test that 
hypothesis by having human volunteers fast. 
"If someone fasted for twenty-four hours," 
he soon found, "the blood levels of the amino 
acids stayed the same. There were no 
rhythms at all. Soil was eating and eating 
alone that made Iho amino- acid rhythms go 
up and down. And the shape of the rhythm 
varied according to what you ate." 

Wurtman took this discovery and made a 
dramatic intellectual leap: If a meal controls 
the level of amino acids in the blood, and if 
certain amino acids give rise to neurotrans- 
miiters in the brain, then wouldn't the meal 
itself dictate how much transmitter was 
made? And if so, wouldn't that meal influ- 
ence behavior and even disease? 

Wurtman decided to try to answer these 
questions by studying tryptophan, a com- 
mon amino acid and the precursor for the 
neurotransmitter serotonin. Serotonin, 
thought to affect sleep, depression, and pain, 
is still only parl.y unders:ooc. Yet, Wurtman 
reasoned, chemical and behavioral work in 
the lab could prove whether tryptophan did 
affect the level of serotonin. 

Wurtman's first test was an unmitigated 
success. He gave lanoraiory rats pure tryp- 
tophan, not only doubling the level of the nu- 
trient in the blood but also raising the level 
of serotonin in the brain. These results, 
moreover, paralleled other clinical experi- 
ments. Dr. Ernest Hartman, of Tufts Univer- 
sity Medical School, for instance, showed 
that when people ingest pure tryptophan 
they fall asleep more quickly. And only re- 
cently, Dr. Steven Zeisel, of the Boston Uni- 
versity School of Medicine, showed that in- 
fants given tryptophan fall asleep faster than 
those fed formula with the amino acid valine. 
' But despite the initial success, Wurtman's 
second experiment raised more questions. 
He wanted to try to lower the level of sero- 
tonin by decreasing tryptophan. And to do 
that, he gave his rats a dose of insulin, the 
hormone that is released from the pancreas 

after [he consumption of carbohydrates. In- 
sulin switches on the body's metabolic up- 
take mechanism, causing it to consume the 
amino acids that have enlered the blood. By 
injecting his animals with insulin, Wurtman 
reasoned, he could induce a drop in the 
amino acid tryptophan and in the neuro- 
transmitter serotonin. 

Bui (he experiment didn't work. Wurtman 
and his team soon realized that high doses 
of insulin were causing serious side effects, 
including drastic disturbances in the rats' 
brain metabolisms. Pure insulin was just too 
powerful to yield clear-cut results. 

So Wurtman decided to feed the rats a 
pure carbohydrate meal instead. This would 
stimulate a normal level of insulin as part of 
. the digestive process and would not throw 
the brain out of whack. Wurtman had turned 
an important corner: He had decided to use 
food instead of a drug to induce an effect. 
He was playing Into instead of against the 
body's regulatory mechanisms. 

But this approach failed, too. In fact, a meal 
consisting of carbohydrates did not lower the 
level of serotonin in the brain; it raised that 
level instead. A search of the literature told 
Wurtman why. Tryptophan was the only 
amino ac:o not aTected by insulin. 

The scenario Wurtman proposed as a re- 
sult of this finding was simple but profound. 
A meal of carbohydrates would stimulate the 
secretion of insulin. The insulin would wash 
all amino acids except tryptophan from the 
blood. And without competition from other 
amino acids, more tryptophan would reach 
the brain, stimulating the production of the 
neurotransmitter serotonin. 

Moreover, Wurtman suggested, when- 
ever the brain had a shortage of serotonin, 
it would somehow develop a craving lor car- 
bohydrates. In other words, the brain would 
always be attuned to the body's nutrient sta- 
tus. And that knowledge would then deter- 
mine what we ate. 

To test this theory, Wurtman and his wife, 
Judith, an MIT nutritionist, studied a group 
of obese individuals who craved carbohy- 
drates. The subjects were allowed to select 
the ingredients of their own meals from foods 
rated for caloric, fat, carbohydrate, and pro- 
tein content. Between meals, they had ac- 
cess to carbohydrate and protein snacks 
from vending machines. 

At mealtimes, the Wurtmans found, their 
obese subjects consumed an average 
amount — about 1,900 calories per day, with 
protein and carbohydrates in nearly text- 
book-perfect balance. But for snacks, these 
individuals consumed an additional 1,000 
calories per day in pure carbohydrates. 

"It was clear that two things were happen- 
ing," says Wurtman. "When the subjects 
were eating at mealtime, their regulatory. 
system functioned properly. But during the 
day, that system stopped functioning, and 
they suddenly needed to pig out on carbo- 
hydrates. I think," he adds, "that they were 
using foodasa'drug." 

In other words, Wurtman explained, when 
the brain sensed a decrease in the serotonin 
level, it initiated a craving for carbohydrates. 

40 OMNI 

Those carbohydrates started the insulin 
cascade, which, much like a drug, allowed 
tryptophan to enter the brain, raising the level 
of serotonin in the process. 

Though this theory is far from proved, the 
Wurtmans recently gave their obese volun- 
teers fenfluramine, a drug that stimulates the 
production of serotonin in rats. The result; 
The volunteers reduced the amount of car- 
bohydrate snacks they ingested. 

This study, Wurtman adds, indicates a link 
between carbohydrate craving and sero- 
tonin-related depression. 'Ask Judy's obese 
people how they feel before they eat the car- 
bohydrates and how they feel afterward," he 
says. "To describe how they feel before eat- 
ing, they use the same words depressed 
patients use to describe their mental stales: 
anxious, tense, unhappy. After eating the 
carbo snacks," he says, "they say they feel 
less konse, even relaxed." 

"What do the carbohydrates do for these 
people?" asks Wurtman. "Exactly what an- 
tidepressant drugs do: They increase sero- 

<mBy the end 

of this year there could 

be an entirely 

new ciass of substances, 

called medical 

foods, consisting of nutrients 

thought to alter 

mood and treat diseased 

tonin and thereby alleviate depression. They 
improve mood, diminish sensitivity to nega- 
tive stimuli, ease the way to sleep." 

This idea is consistent with research from 
the National Institute of Mental Health. There, 
psychobiologist Norman Rosenthal has 
learned that during short winter days, when 
there is less sunlight, some people consist- 
ently become depressed. One of the key 
symptoms of this recurring depression, 
called SAD, for seasonal affective disorder, 
is a powerful carbohydrate craving that 
arises at around the same time the depres- 
sion begins. Rosenthal hypothesizes that this 
may be due to a decrease in serotonin, which 
creates the depression and signals the body 
to eat carbohydrates. 

Rosenthal also speculates that SAD may 
be related to an excessive amount'of the 
hormone melatonin. Melatonin is sup- 
pressed by light, so it can sometimes ac- 
cumulate during the relatively dark days of 
winter. And, adds Rosenthal, melatonin is lit- 
erally made from serotonin, Thus the in- 
crease in melatonin during the dark winter 
months could be depleting serotonin, caus- 
ing depression and the carbohydrate crav- 
ing that results. 

The notion that nutrients might work as 
mood regulators makes sense to Rosenthal. 
"People with depression often have accom- 
panying eating disorders — loss of appetite, 
carbohydrate craving, even anorexia or bu- 
limia," he says. "Their irregular eating pat- 
terns may be an attempt to regulate the level 
of various chemicals in the brain." 

But serotonin is not the only neurotrans- 
mitter implicated In depression. Research 
indicates that a deficit of norepinephrine may 
result in clinical depression as well. And ac- 
cording to Wurtman, norepinephrine's 
amino-acid precursor, tyrosine, may be just 
what the doctor ordered. 

Psychiatrist Alan Gelenberg, of Harvard, 
has been investigating that possibility for 
several years. In his most widely cited ex- 
periment, one that has never been repli- 
cated, he described a thirty-year-old woman 
who took tyrosine for two weeks: Her 
depression improved markedly, according 
to the psychological testing measures used. 
Then a placebo was substituted for tyrosine, 
and within one week her depressive symp- 
toms returned. A resumption of tyrosine 
yielded a second marked improvement. 

Though Gelenberg himself is skeptical of 
these results, Wurtman claims that they make 
sense. It's hard to replicate such experi- 
ments, he says, because depression is re- 
lated to norepinephrine deficiency in just a 
traction of the cases. 

Moreover, he adds, depression is just one 
of the many maladies that nutrient precur- 
sors may one day cure. The most dramatic 
use for these nutrients, he says, may be in 
the treatment of Alzheimer's disease, which 
afflicts the elderly with a progressive loss of 
memory and, finally, full-blown dementia. 

The first indication that precursor therapy 
could help Alzheimer's victims came in 1976, 
when two groups — one led by Peter Davies, 
of the University of Edinburgh Faculty of 
Medicine, the other by David Bowen, of Lon- 
don's Institute of Neurology — found the first 
clear biochemical abnormality ever associ- 
ated with Alzheimer's disease. They discov- 
ered that virtually all Alzheimer's victims have 
a severe deficit of the neurotransmitter ace- 
tylcholine. It seemed, at least to Wurtman, 
that if some way could be found to boost the 
acetylcholine level, the disease's progres- 
sive symptoms might be slowed or stopped. 
And an obvious way to achieve this was by 
loading the blood with acetylcholine's nu- 
trient precursor, a substance called choline. 
Wurtman first tried the strategy on rats and 
found that an increase in dietary choline el- 
evated the level of acetylcholine in the brain. 
Then he began to experiment with humans, 
feeding a group of voluntary subjects sup- 
plemental choline in the form of a naturally 
occurring substance called lecithin. "The 
choline concentration in their blood rose to 
levels that are high enough to stimulate brain 
acetylcholine in rats," Wurtman reports. 
Moreover, he adds. Harvard doctor John H. 
Growden found that administering lecithin in 
combination with other drugs increased the 
level of choline in the subjects' cerebrospi- 
nal fluid. The implication: The extra choline 

'.";ON ' INUL.I3 ON PAGE 44 



i. This may be the most 
perplexing of all the entries, but 

id- hot and 

U shape around a dowel. only by a machinist, we couldn't 

Then he placed shock-absorbing rubber pads inside and give it top prize. When C 

I the coin, using a metal rod finished with his associate's degree in r...... ^^... 

ner State Technical College. 

es of aluminum. First he cut 
ifornia, first unlaced a baseball enough to remove the rubber- threaded the long aluminum piece, then cut and polished its 

"*";hed the skin, leaving the last half tip to a specified diameter (in tl 
inch loose. He 
inserted it into the empty skin, crushed the skin, and pushed i 


does have access oc I no human brain. 

These results have recently been bol- 
stered by Dr. Raymond Levy, of the Univer- 
sity of London Faculty of Medicine. In the 
only long-term, carefully controlled study of 
supplemental lecithin, Levy found conlinu- 
ing behavioral improvement in 8 out of 24 
Alzheimer's victims. According to Levy, those 
eight had an average age of seventy-nine, 
whereas those who did not respond had an 
average age of sixty-nine. The implication, 
Wurtman suggests, is that those who de- 
velop Alzheimer'? disease later in life con- 
tract a milder form of if, a form linked to def- 
icits of the neurotransmitter acelylcholine. 
Those who contract the disease earlier may 
have problems with a host of other neuro- 
transmitters as well. 

But despite the apparent success of these 
experiments,. other research is less promis- 
ing. Psychiatrist Kenneth L. Davis, director 
of one of the largest Alzheimer's research 
programs in the country and the first clini- 
cian to administer choline for the disease, 
describes his results as "uninspiring." And 
Dr. Israel Hanin, chief of psychiatry at the 
University of Pittsburgh Medical School, has 
been unable to replicate Wurtman's seminal 
experiment, in which increased dietary cho- 
line boosted the brain's acetylcholine level. 

Indeed, a number of clinical psycholo- 
gists say they doubt that nutrient precursors 
will ever replace drugs. Tryptophan or car- 
bohydrate foods will never be as effective 
as sleeping pills, many contend, and tyro- 
sine or high-protein meals will never in- 
crease alertness as well as amphetamines 
do, "It is critical, true, and irnporlanl," says 
one source, to recognize that nutrient pre- 
cursors will probably have a limited range of 
medical applications. 

And Boston University's Dr. Steven Zeisel, 
who studied the amino-acid content of infant 
formula, warns that altering the normal bal- 
ance of amine acids can d s ; upt protein syn- 
thesis in the body's cells. Only a drastic im- 
balance yie-ds those die;;::-] Zeisel says, but 
since anyone can now buy unlimited quan- 
tities of lecithin, tyrosine, and tryptophan in 
health-food stores, the ootential for danger 
is there. Adverse side effects can run from 
stunted growth to an "overall failure to thrive." 
Since protein synthesis is critical in the de- 
velopment of a feius, he adds, pregnant 
women experimenting with the substances 
could do particular harm. 

Wurtman shares Ihese concerns. He em- 
phasizes that medical use of nutrient pre- 
cursors should oe hmited under strict FDA 
guidelines. And he believes that ail of his hy- 
potheses must be extensively verified in 
tightly controlled human slud'es. Toward thai 
- end, he is busily trying to convince multina- 
tional food and oha-'rr.aceuiical companies 

io participate in ihe work. Though results from 
these corporations are not yet in, Wurtman 
has been hugely successful in enlisting in- 
terest from big business. Unilever, in the 
Netherlands, is researching the possible 
drug implications of lecithin, and the Thomas 
J. Lipion Company is producing lecithin-en- 
riched noodles for experiments with Alz- 
heimer's disease. Pierrel, in Italy, is testing a 
tyrosine intravenous solution for the treat- 
ment of traumatic shock. "It is dangerous to 
be wrong," Wurtman says, "but lean be en- 
thusiastic because, to my knowledge, I have 
not been wrong. This is because my labo- 
ratory has a 'Rule of Three.' Nothing leaves 
here until at least three different people at 
three different times have confirmed it inter- 
nally. This is done in a coded way, so no one 
knows exactly what he is working on. I fell 
my grad students that after publication, this 
will protect them. If, later on, someone out 
there claims he cannot confirm our findings, 
thai's his problem." 

But even if Wurtman is dead wrong and 
nutrient precursors tail as treatments for Alz- 
heimer's disease, obesity, depression, or in- 
somnia, food-borne precursors will serve a 
valuable purpose. Choline, tryptophan, and 
tyrosine are sa~e, fexoie icols for exploring 
the mind. And because they are natural sub- 
stances, they may enable us, for the first time, 
to chart complex psychological processes 
without disrupl ng the do icste neurochem- 
isiry of the functioning brain. DO 


WP 8 *^ ' - " «? 

\ X 

JiuV-^fc ^ftlllk 

A \ VjL/ J& J^ w9$t) 

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ii v-i-i-^ 7 ^^jy^^^ ^^cr 

LX^-J ^pas^T^ 

.. "1 know we're human, but 1 iorget if we're pre-, near-, or sub-." 


The quintessential future bureaucrat knows the 

power of words and will use 
them to justify, to control, and perhaps to destroy 



I prepare "captured secret documents." A smattering 
oi Russian, hints of Spanish, un peu French, some Chi- 
nese; it is not imporiant thai 1 be fluent in these lan- 
guages as long as 1 can provide what might be called 
their flavor. The "documents" are intended to read as 
translations anyway, which excuses many limitations in 
style. They contain polemics about the need for world 
conquest, interspersed with statistics so dull that they 
must chill: feed grains, diseased chickens, pastures, 
coal mines, resources. The style is horrifying, but that 
is the agency's problem, not my own. I merely conform 
to established rules, I follow formal. 

This job — and I regard it solely as a job; I have no 
delusions of grandeur here — cost me a promising re- 
lationship recently, It is of this that I wish to speak- 
however hesitantly— for the files. I have been instructed 
to do this, Otherwise it is not to be discussed outside 

of context. Francine, however, was disinger 
me— I knew less then — I was also a little bit of a patriot 
and proponent (fool! ) of relative openness in affairs. So 
I told her. more or less, what I did. It took Francine a 
while to grasp the context, but when she did, her re- 
action was one of disgust. "You're a functionary." she 
said, "a clerk. Don't all of the lies sicken you?" 

"They are not lies. I choose to believe they reflect a 
higher truth in the endless battle between the Soviet 
bloc and the Western forces of light." 

"We've heard that rationalization for half a century," 
Francine said. She was really quite angry. I am doing a 
poor job, I sense, of conveying her outrage. (My prose 
is more keyed toward the smoothly bureaucratic. It is 
all a matter of training.) "This is crazy.'' she said. "You 
mean you write this stuff so that when the troops come 
in they plant the documents and then those documents 


become whal are suoposed to be captured 
from somebody's files?" 

"Secret documents," I pointed out. "Tran- 
scripts and writings that were supposed to 
have been destroyed or taken away and 
were instead left behind by the enemy in their 
headlong flight. Captured public docu- 
ments would be another division." 

"Are you trying to tell me you just sit in front 
of a typewriter arc. make up this stuff? That's 

Well, perhaps it is, considered in thai way: 
I had never done so before. I gather that I 
am being rather light on characterization. 
Characterization and her handmaiden, de- 
scription, are not to be neglected in certain 
prose documents. 

■ Francine was five feet four, with a certain 
severity of mouth and cheekbones, perhaps 
a consequence of her upbringing in the mine 
country of Pennsylvania but more likely as- 
sociated with the fact that she was a master 
of arts in nursing ad ministry I ion and had seen 
a good deal in her time, rot the least of which 
was the interior of my apartment, if not my 
unrevealed psychic (Mo. I had seen little and 
had been nowhere; travel, in the viewpoint 
of my mentors, not being conducive to that 
free flow of the imagination needed to pro- 
duce fine secret documents.) Breasts two, 
eyes blue, ass nicely formed, and- so on, and 
I would go into further particulars of appear- 
ance and physical relationship if they were 
relevant under any circumstance. They are 
not relevant. 

"This is bizarre. "Francine said. "I've never 
heard of anything like it. Whyare you telling 
me all this?" 

"You said you wanted a sharing relation- 
ship, Francine." 

"But this is crazy." 

"Crazy?" I said, and added an agency 
dictum, "in war nothing is crazy, and we are 
in deadly combat. We make up everything, 
yes. but only in a tight format. There's a style 
sheet, there's rigid schematizaiion of the 
voicing, and there are lists of facts, all of 
which must be included in a certain fashion. 
Actually," I emphasized, "it's a very de- 
manding job, fully deserving of its GS-eigh- 
teen rank, and we're thinking about making 
a formal appeal for reclassification." 

"Who are J we'?" 

"All of us in the branch, of course." 

"You mean, there's a whole little disgust- 
ing army of clerks. Of captured secret doc- 
ument preparers." 

"Our official classrica:ion : s informational 
writer" I said, "but I wouldn't really object to 
your label." 

"Well, I object to every aspect of it," Fran- 
cine said. 

And so on and so forth. It was a difficult 
argument in a difficult time, and it is not, pen 
haps, worthwhile !o extend this transcript.' I 
have included this much only to indicate that 
I am well aware (so are all of us on this level) 
of the contempt that my occupation incites 
in some quarters. I am not unaware of pain, 
nor unacquainted with grief. Looking at this 
objectively (and objectivity is the grand, sad 
curse of the century), there is something fu- 

48 OMNI 

tile, something indcec cierkiy about prepar- 
ing crude drafts, in uncertain language, of 
materials that will never be read other than 
by a skeptical smattering of the public. There 
is something awijl about i..s"ilying troop ac- 
tions that are. ps-haos. unjustifiable, led by 
interests who are, to some, unspeakable. But 
I am no politician. 

Politics and the civil service are kept sep- 
arate by fiat. Insulated by the Career & Sal- 
ary Plan, I minimize implication. 

Someone, after all, has to prepare the 
captured secret documents; reporters are 
persistent, the times insist upon evidence for 
everything, and I na-^e learned to do my work 
as well as anyone eould under the circum- 
stances. Me and my army of clerks. (Army? 
There is none such; Francine had it wrong. 
There are only a dozen of us, and we are, of 
course, kept separate not only by area of 
expertise but by anonymity. My colleagues 
have never been idem Nod to me. I learned 
we were a dozen only through captured se- 
cret documents.) 

'•In war nothing 
is crazy, and we are in 

deadly combat. 
We make everything up, 

yes, but only in 

a tight format. There's 

a style sheet, 

and there are lists offacts.* 

A note on human vanity and folly; In the 
adjoining room of this apartment — I work and 
sleep in the windowed partition, do my 
wooing there as well — lies the library of my 
collected works. As every writer must have 
his pride and Pictography, so must I have 
mine. Lined up in uniform binders are the 
output of all my years at the agency: original 
drafts of documents captured in Beirut, the 
Antilles. Cairo, San Miguel de Allende, and 
other places. Most of these bear the mark of 
the haste and pressure under which they 
were written (deadlines are pressing in this 
business), but in every one of them will be 
at least a page and so-met. mes two of prose 
that I consider to bear my own personal im- 
press, prose thai sings or at least moves to 
a certain inner rhythm. Eighty-six knives to 
the- oppressors, an arcing bullet- lor the 
American swine, hold the temple inviolate — 
this is one of my favorite phrases (unearthed 
by the liberating troops in Port-au-Prince). A 
four-year plan past folly, a hole in the tent of 
American domain — there is another. Most of 
these documents, of course, are written in a 
prose of the most stale and ponderously bu- 
reaucratic sort, this to grant the counsel of 
realism, but every' now and then — as I in- 

sisted to Francine, as I insist to you — the 
personal voice must extrude. A man must 
have his pride. A man must, after all, have 
his ino : viduality. 

They understand this in the agency, and 
as long as it does not interfere with the es- 
sentials, they have even been known to en- 
courage this approach. There is more com- 
passion, greater understanding within those 
corridors than outsiders could ever under- 
stand. This is not a dehumanizing business; 
it breeds great feeling. 

So that other room — my library, the col- 
lected works — is inviolate, stark but for the 
shelves and the thin fluorescence with which 
the carefully stacked binders are illumi- 
nated. It is that place (I like to feel) in which 
all purpose resides, a repository, 1 think, and 
a hommage to iarger purposes. For there 
are not, I have come to know, merely the six 
reasons cited in the Career & Salary bro- 
chure for the advantages of this employ- 
ment, but a seventh reason, too. And it's the 
most important of all: giving testimony, to 
change the face of the earth a little. All of us 
who would be artists, 'who would use the 
medium of words or paint or song, are driv- 
en by this need to alter, however slightly, that 
terrain upon which we have found our- 
selves. And my alteration, stacked floor to 
ceiling in the spackled. glowing binders that 
contain not only statistics but a kind of po- 
etry. . . my alteration, it has to be under- 
stood, Is very important to me; it matters, it 
is not trivial. I must make this clear, this is not 
insignificant material, not hackwork but tes- 
timony. That seventh reason portends: to 
make a difference. 

And a difference has been made; my 
captured documents have given justifica- 
tion where such did not before exist. 1 have 
shifted the balance of popular opinion away 
from loathing, and I have the evidence to 
cite. But this is not a document of sheer ex- 
position, as we would call it at the agency; 
this is a narrative of some dimension and 
dramatic weight. I come before you not only 
with a position to cite but a story to tell. And 
I come to explain not only Francine (al- 
though she has a part in this) but to explain 
much that goes past her. Francine being ul- 
timately only a symbol. "I'm going to write to 
all of the newspapers," she said toward the 
conclusion of the discussions to which I have 
already alluded. "Do you understand that? 
I'll publish in the letters-to-the-editor col- 
umns, and I won't stop there. I'll write my 
congressman, I'll send communications to 
action-news-drama center. Someone will 
believe me. Someone will at last accept this 
bizarre truth: that there are roomfujs of little 
clerks like yourself making up captured 
documents to justify our disgusting adven- 
tures and equations, our rotten entrepre- 
neuring. I'll make them believe it, I swear I 
will, and it will never be the same for you 
again. Just you wait and see." 

"Francine." I said, "you are overreacting. 
It's merely a. job, Francine. It's employment 
like any other, it can become as routine as 
those facets of anguish — melanoma, termi- 
nation, helplessness, suffering — to which 

you are exposed every cay in your own work. 
II is necessarily impersonal. You can get used 
to it, believe me." 

"I'll never become numb to it," she said, 
"I'm not a clerk, not a functionary. Thai's why 
I got the master's: I had to get off the floor. I 
couldn't look at their eyes anymore, lie to the 
relatives, watch them as they stared out the 
windows at the sun in the late autumn, I had 
to indulge some separation, open up dis- 
tance, stop lying, find a way to get away from 
it. But not you, you would be there at this 
moment, holding their hands and telling them 
that remissions were common in their situa- 

I should explain — lest Francine seem un- 
duly unsympathetic at this point, so repre- 
hensible lhat a sensible reader might ask, 
"Why is a person like you even involved with 
her anymore?" — thai it was not necessarily 
always this way. 

On our very first date, arranged by a video- 
computer service, Francine and I had sex- 
ual relations and enjoyed one another enor- 
mously, and it was only after some time (and 
after the initiation ol conversation) that mat- 
ters moved to this- state of relative collapse. 
Francine, I learned, is one of those who re- 
jects anonymous, sustaining relationships 
and wants real human contact This is ter- 
rific for arguments but not so good for sex. 
Agency employ or not, I am a normal Amer- 
ican male, heterosexual to the core, thirty- 
3 driven and necessitous, and I 

would far rathe- get '■■; d [especially anony- 
mously) than become involved in discus^ 
sions like this. I teel justified, powerfully so. 

"This is unbelievable," she said, poinling 
to the binders. This argument was taking 
place in the library. I had made the mistake 
of faking her into the library. "You save all of 
this stuff? You're proud of it?" 

She reached up, took a binder, opened it, 
and stared at it, "This is full of French" she 
said, "and strange- coking letters. You know 
these languages?" 

"Cyrillic," I said, "tor the Russian lan- 
guage. This gives it authenticity. Keep on 
going Ihough, you'll find something that you 
can read if you just give it time." I maintained 
a sense of pride in my work. Even then, I only 
wanted a reading. 

She turned some pages. "Running dog," 
she read, "imperialist sw'.ne will fall within the 
mark, and the penitentiary of the century will 
not, cannot, wholly enclose them." 

"Dominican Republic. 1988," I said rather 

"Praise -the keepers, for the keepers will 
set us free; know the truth, and the truth will 
cut our shackles." 

"Yes," I said. "Isn't that good?" 

"You wrote that?" 

"Every word of it," 

'And you're proud of this?" 

"I'm not ashamed, Francine, if that's what 
you're asking me to say, I have nothing to be 
ashamed of," 

She hurled the binder on ihe floor, "I can't 
tell you how angry this makes me," she said. 
"This then, this is the face of the enemy, the 
liars who have turned this country into the 
nightmare of the century. You serve the forces 
of this lie, and yet you're a clerk, just a func- 
tionary!" She reached, took another binder 
from the shelf, threwthis down unopened. 
"This is .terrifying," she said, "it's absolutely 
terrifying. I can't believe that you've told me 
all this." 

"You're causing disorder." 

"I'm what?" 

"You're causing disorder, Francine, and I 
won't have it. So please, I'm asking you to 

"I'm causing disorder," she said fiercely. 
"Oh my — " 

"This is my library. I'm proud oi it. I worked 
hard to put it together. My writings are here. 
I don't want them disturbed, and I don't want 
to argue over them anymore." 

She opened the binder, clawed out a 
sheet, "this says something about steel 
quotas," she said, rolled it into a ball, threw 
it at me. She ripped out another sheet, scan- 
ning it hurriedly. 

"I mean it. I said stop it, Francine," I said. 
I fell mysell beginning to flush. I knew ar- 
rhythmia would shortly follow. I am quite se- 
rious about my collected works. Some as- 
pect of permanence and history is important 
to me. this is testimony. Call it evidence if 
you like. Call it the evidence of the century. 

Having tamed the unruly hadrons 
with his conceptual whip of colors, flavors, 
and quarks, this Nobel Prize- 
winning physicist tries to snare the elusive 
unified field theory in the weird, 
ten-dimensional realm of "superstring" 


Three quarks for Muster Mark" was James Joyce's call in 
Finnegan's Wake. Was ii a plea for drinks from the pub 
man Humphrey, a seagull's cry, or three acts ol love? It 
could have been any of these, says physicist Murray Gell-Mann 
with a sly grin. But for him, quarks were something else when he 
settled on the name about 22 years ago: They provided the es- 
sential building blocks of subatomic particles, 

"I think people have been too sober about all of this," Gell-Mann 
remarked recently at his Aspen, Colorado, home, "I thought it would 
be refreshing to use names based mostly on jokes because I wasn't 
sure any name I could give them would be applicable perma- 
nently If I had given them a pompous Greek name based on some 
property we believe in today, they might in the future look anti- 
quated. The real joke, of course, is that the name never meant 
anything in the first place and so would never be obsolete." 

54 OMNI 

Gell-Mann's whimsical name-calling didn't begin with quarks. In 
1961 he entitled his monumental ordering of all the fundamental 
particles the "Eightfold Way," the name of the Buddhist doctrine 
describing the path to wisdom. Gell-Mann insists this was another 
"colossal joke. And some rather silly people have tried to distort 
this into a connection between particle physics and Oriental reli- 
gion," he adds. "They've even written a book about it." 

In the late Fifties, before the Eightfold Way, things were getting 
out of control in subatomic physics, such was the vast proliferation 
of particles. Hadrons — subatomic particles thought to be com- 
posed of smaller particles. — had multiplied into an unmanageable 
"zoo" of untamed, unclassified entities. And physicists were be- 
ginning to suspect that the legions of hadrons were infinite. For- 
tunately, as scientists began to organize the hadrons according to 
vital statistics — mass, charge, and spin — patterns began to ap- 


pear. Gell-Mann was one of the first to see 
the hidden design. 

In the magnitude of its organization, the 
Eightfold Way is sometimes compared to 
Dmitry Mendeleyev's ordering of the atomic 
elements into the periodic table. Both Gell- 
Mann and Israeli physicist Yuval Ne'eman 
independently noticed an order among 
hadrons (the most common of which are 
protons and neutrons). These particles' in- 
terior structures— the complex landscape of 
quarks — began to emerge. 

Inside the squadrons of hadrons, quarks 
carry specific fractional electric charges. 
Quarks have "flavors," or characteristics, 
which Gell-Mann dubbed up, down, and 
strange. The only difference between up, 
down, and strange quarks, so far as the 
quarks' binding interaction is concerned, is 
their mass. The up and down are very light. 
The strange is about 50 times more mas- 
sive. Later, two more flavors were discov- 
ered — charm and bottom — and one more, 
top, was conceptualized. All hadrons need 
three quarks to be complete; yet no quark 
can be extracted from a hadron. They are 
forever locked in quark slavery inside the 
bigger particle. Physicists say quarks are 
"permanently confined." 

Scientists these days are inclined to be- 
lieve that things weren't always as compli- 
cated as all of this appears. Perhaps there 
was a time, for example, when there were 
fewer lorces at work in the cosmos. Today, 
you may recall, there are four. One is eiec- 
tromagnetism, the power behind woofers 
and tweeters and TV transmissions. The 
second is the strong force, holding an at- 
om's nucleus together; and the third is the 
weak force, associated with the slow decay 
of some particles. Gravity is the remaining 
force. Back during the instant after the Big 
Bang, scientists theorize, these four forces 
were one. And in that brief time when the 
unified force reigned, the universe was per- 
fectly symmetrical. The growth of the uni- 
verse, under these theories, is a story of suc- 
cessively broken symmetries. 

One way to test the theories is to classify 
the particles according to their theoretical 
symmetry. This is 'similar to botanical clas- 
sification, in which plants are typed accord- 
ing to their stamens or divisions of petals. In 
particle physics, the groupings are made 
according to spin. There are two kinds of 
spin: a "real" spin, which is similar to the 
earth's spinning on its axis while moving 
through space; and isotopic spin, a meta- 
phoric concept based on a mathematical 
property. Isotopic spin distinguishes and 
identifies the symmetry of the particles. Gell- 
Mann has been able to predict and identify 
this spin with an uncanny exactness. 

The search for symmetry and unity among 
the forces — a quest dating back to Ein- 
stein — has led Gell-Mann and other physi- 
cists to try to explore entirely new Worlds of 
space and tlmerTo .outsiders, the worlds are 
wonderlands, and the scientists are Chesh-' 
ire cats spouting strange epigrams. Indeed, 
Lewis Carroll might feel right at home with 
one recent concept: supergravity. a daring 

56 OMNI 

attempt to unify the quartet of forces. This 
theory shows how all particles might join with 
the force of gravitation- and its quantum (tiny 
parcel of energy), thegraviton. Supergravity 
is a web so newly spun that many physicists 
themselves find it difficult to comprehend. 
But for those who do, its intricate mathemat- 
ical equations provide a dazzling window into 
the birth of the universe, when space, time, 
matter, and all the forces were fused into the 
manifestations of a single, powerful grip of 
pure forca 

In this tiny, embryonic universe, only su- 
per par tides existed— nearly massless, 
traveling at the speed of light, responding 
only to the power that blazed forth from a 
mass the size of a baseball. Each particle 
was crushed to such a density that its grav- 
itation was unimaginably strong. 

Supergravity theory suggests a one-to- 
one correspondence, or symmetry, be- 
tween two distinct species of fundamental 
particles: bosons and fermions. Bosons are 
carriers of force; fermions are affected by 


reduce to four dimensions if 

one supposes 

that the ten dimensions 

spontaneous/y collapse 

and roll up into a little 

bail at every 
point in space-time^ 

force. Supergravity theory holds that at the 
Big Bang, fermions and bosons were differ- 
ent faces of the same particle. Every particle 
in the universe today — boson or fermion — 
should "somewhere" have a superpartnerof 
the opposite Species. 

The universe has always been space-time 
as well as matter-energy. The intense force 
fields of the superdense moments of the early 
universe had the power to sculpt space-time 
into almost inconceivable dimensions. And 
here the Cheshire cat grins wide: According 
to recent versions of supergravity, the pri- 
meval universe had 11 dimensions, instead 
of the four of Einstein's world (three of space 
and one of time). In that primordial, searing 
explosion, the universe would have had 
enough might to unfold its subnuclear-size 
denizens to fully developed space-time su- 
perentities, with each 11 dimensions of each 
particle on equal footing. In the next few in- 
stants, says the theory, thethree dimensions 
swelled up to engulf the other seven. The 
short-lived dimensions then roll up, out of 
sight, into some sort of hyperball. 

Gell-Mann's recent work has focused on a 
newer offspring of supergravity: superstring 
theory. It calls for a primeval universe of ten 

dimensions. Gell-Mann thinks that super- 
gravity is an approximation of superstring, a 
launching point to "pursue the string." 

Despite the multidimensional attractions 
of physics, Gell-Mann still finds space-time 
to pursue his other interests: birds, pre-Co- 
lumbian pottery, ancfent coins, environmen- 
tal issues, and his continuing search for 
physics groupies. Physics, in fact, was not 
his first love. He'd originally considered ar- 
chaeology, linguistics, or ornithology. But 
when he asked his father about these 
choices, the reply was, "You'll starve!" As a 
compromise, his father suggested physics. 

"I took a course called Physics in high 
school," Gell-Mann recalls. "It was the dull- 
est course I'd ever taken and the only course 
I'd ever done badly in. We learned about 
heat, light, mechanics, sound, electricity, 
magnetism, and so forth, as if they had noth- 
ing to do with one another. I couldn't possi- 
bly spend my life studying a stupid subject 
like that." His father assured him it would get 
better. And at age fifteen, Gell-Mann en- 
tered Yale University to study physics. 

He graduated four years later and went 
on to MIT. At twenty-one, he had his Ph.D. in 
physics and was off to Princeton Universi- 
ty's Institute for Advanced Study. In 1955 he 
headed west to the California Institute of 
Technology (Caltech), in Pasadena, and by 
1967, he was appointed the Robert A. Milli- 
kan Professor of Theoretical Physics. He 
claims it has never been his intention to stay 
at Caltech this long. He is still there today 
(permanently confined like his quarks, as it 
were). And in 1969 he finally won the Nobel 
Prize for physics — finally, because every- 
one had expected him to win it in 1964. 

Today, at fifty-five, Gell-Mann's time is still 
consumed with physics, but he is also a di- 
rector of the MacArthur Foundation, which 
bestows fellowships to worthy scientists and 
artists. He is a member of the board of trust- 
ees of the Aspen Center of Physics and is a 
citizen regent of the Smithsonian Institution. 

Ron Schultz interviewed Gell-Mann in the 
physicist's Aspen home, his Caltech office, 
and some of the best restaurants in Aspen, 
Pasadena, and La Jolla, California. 

Omni: Was there one event that was pivotal 
in shaping your approach to physics? 
Gell-Mann: Very much so. For years I had 
gotten good grades in science without un- 
derstanding much. I was a machine for tak- 
ing notes and regurgitating ideas for exam- 
inations. All that changed after I attended 
the Harvard-MIT theoretical seminar during 
my first year in graduate school. The semi- 
nar was a discussion group on theoretical 
physics, particularly physics of nuclei and 
elementary particles. The leading theorists 
of Harvard and MIT met with other profes- 
sors as well as postdocs and graduate stu- 
dents of the two institutions. My way of think- 
ing was so circumscribed by classes, 
grades, and the notion of trying to please a 
teacher that I couldn't see the scientific ac- 
tivity taking place, This became evident to 
me on the first day of the seminar. The 
speaker was a Harvard graduate student 

who described his doctoral research on a 
certain nucleus, boron 10. He calculated the 
energy for various descriptions of the nu- 
cleus, seeking the lowest energy for differ- 
ent values of its spin. He demonstrated ap- 
proximately that the spin of the lowest state 
was one — which everybody had already as- 
sumed to be the case. I thought he had done 
a good job presenting his work, and I won- 
dered what the professors in the front row 
would say about it. I couldn't get away from 
the notion that the seminar was a kind of class 
that would be graded by the professors. 

.Then a grubby little man with a three days' 
growth of beard got up and said in a rather 
uneducated accent (I supposed he had 
crawled out of the basement of MIT, where 
he had been working on some kind of dirty 
experiment), "Hey, da spin ain't one: it's free.' 
Dey measured it!" Suddenly, in a blinding 
Hash, I realized what the whole scientific en- 
terprise was about. Impressing professors 
in the front row was not important. Agree- 
ment with observation, with thai grubby little 
man, was what mattered. The observation 
to which he referred was, in fact, a correct 
measurement, and agreeing with correct 
measurements is what physics is all about. 
Omni: How, as you've said, is quantum me- 
chanics — which underlies all modern theo- 
ries of matter — a counterintuitive discipline? 
Gell-Mann: Counterintuitive is not a word 
natural scientists use often. Social scientists 
use it more. We might say nontrivial instead. 
What is meant is that quantum-mechanical 

concepts don't come easily to the human 
mind because they seem to contradict 
everyday experience; the evidence. of ordi- 
nary sensory observation. An ordinary per- 
son used to looking at the world solely 
through his senses is going to find quantum 
mechanics peculiar. Even people steeped 
in quantum mechanics feel a little queasy 
about it. But a modern physicist must de- 
velop a quantum-mechanical intuition — it's 
of critical importance in creative work. 
Omni: What are the central ideas in elemen- 
tary-particle theory today? 
Gell-Mann: All theoretical work on funda- 
mental physics is based on quantum field 
theory, in which every force is carried by a 
quantum. For electromagnetism, the quan- 
tum is the photon, a packet of electromag- 
netic energy. 

An atom is composed of a nucleus, with 
positive electric charge, and, circulating 
around the nucleus, are some electrons, with 
negative charge. The nucleus, in turn, has 
been known for more than fifty years to be 
composed of neutrons and protons. The 
electric force that holds the electrons and 
nucleus together can be understood as 
coming from the exchange of a photon be- 
tween electrons and protons. Today the 
electron appears elementary — there is no 
evidence that it is made up of anything sim- 
pler. But the neutron and proton, long thought 
to be elementary, are now known to be com- 
posed of simpler entities: quarks, which are 
just as elementary as the electron. 

The quarks are held together in both neu- 
tron and proton by the exchange of messen- 
ger quanta called gluons. We now have a 
quantum-field theory of quarks and gluons, 
which we call quantum chromodynamics, or 
quantum color dynamics [QCD]. And we 
think it's just as correct as the famous theory 
of quantum electrodynamics that so beau- 
tifully describes the interaction of electrons 
and protons. [According to QCD theory, 
each flavor of quark comes in colors. The 
neutron or proton can be pictured as con- 
sisting of three quarks: one red, one blue, 
and one green — primary colors that, when 
added together, produce the perception of 
pure white.] 

The name color has nothing to do with real 
color but is a joke (based on human color 
vision). Colored quarks and colorful gluons 
are permanently confined inside the "white" 
neutron and proton and can never escape. 
They can be detected only indirectly. But the 
indirect experimental proof of their exis- 
tence inside is now overwhelming. In a num- 
ber of these experiments, each quark or 
gluon produces a jet, of directly observable 
particles, as its signature. 
Omni: Will we ever be able to detect an un- 
confirmed quark? 

Gell-Mann: I don't think so. I believe that the 
confinement is absolute. But I suppose we 
can't rule out the possibility of some tiny 
leakage that we don't understand today. If 
the confinement were not absolute, then 
quarks would be of great practical impor- 
tance because an isolated quark would be 
absolutely stable. And an absolutely stable 
object has a number of useful applications. 
So if there were such a leakage and the 
quarks could be isolated, an important 
quarkonics industry would grow up. One 
quark product could be the use of stable, 
fractionally charged objects for catalyzing 
[supporting] thermonuclear reactions. One 
could imagine all kinds ot other applications. 
But I doubt there'll ever be a leak discovered 
that will permit the colored objects to emerge 

Omni: Aren't there theoretical efforts to unify 
all four interactions, including gravitation? 
Gell-Mann: That is the grandest ambition of 
all. Einstein dreamed of unifying gravitation 
and electromagnetism in a unified field the- 
ory. But he failed, and we think now that he 
was doomed to fail because he didn't in- 
clude the strong and weak interactions. And 
not accepting quantum mechanics, he didn't 
concern himself with a unified-quantum-field 
theory, which would have included fields for 
particles like electrons as well as for quanta 
like the photon and the graviton [the quan- 
tum of gravitation]. Today wehave a few ex- 
citing possible theories that could fultill Ein- 
stein's dream. These are related to the so- 
called supergravity theories that have re- 
ceived some publicity recently. 
Omni: To what does the prdix super refer? 
Gell-Mann: There are two broad classes of 
elementary particles: fermions and bosons. 
Fermions obey the exclusion principle — two 
fermions cannot occupy the same place at 
the same time. Bosons love to crowd into the 



Risa and I 




of the 





a baleful 






A woman 


hung naked in the center of the room, wrists 
and ankles secured by silver shackles 
chained to magbolts. She was true human 
and was young and lovely: mahogany skin, 
gleaming almost ocher in jovelight; long hair 
shining like spun gold; eyes as bright as 
fractured emeralds. Her legs were long and 
lithe, her stomach was flat, her breasts were 
still tumid wilh adolescence. White teeth bit 
into her lower lip. Blood beaded along their 
edges. She writhed in her bonds but could 
not pull free. 

A man faced the woman, also naked. He 
too was of unaltered terran stock but could 
not be called lovely; radiation scars puck- 
ered his skin; one eye did not close com- 
pletely. A skin cancer grew like lichen from 
his right cheek. His hair was close-cropped 
and once must have been black but was 
now sprinkled with white from damaged 
melanocytes. Bulky muscles had become 
flabby with neglect. His name was Hitt. 

The man used to ply an honest trade: 
gunrunning tor the various insurgent hybrids 
of most of the Outer Moons. He was quite 
wealthy from it. Now he was retired. 

The girl was a high-priced callbody. A deal 
with her broker was made a short time ago. 
So far. all had gone accordingly. 

Hitt held an alphalash. Glowing filaments 
dropped like a horsetail of optical fibers. 
Protons dripped from their ends to bounce 
on the floor. The girl's eyes vibrated verti- 
cally, transfixed by the bounding protons. 
Arm muscles flexed. Ionized air shrieked as 
the alphalash swung its arc. Ozone fumed 
into sharp olfactory tendrils. Shedded sparks 
danced like dusi motes in a moonbeam. 

Breath whistled from the girl's nostrils. 

The lash touched naked flesh; skin 
twitched into wrinkled blisters, then relaxed. 
Glowing lines burned into the skin where 
each filament of the lash touched; ener- 
gized protons became embedded in epi- 
dermis, where they slowly shed their energy 
into pain receptors. Neurons then carried a 
symphony of hurt. No discipline was as 
painful as the proton whip. How did I know 
that, I wondered? The girl did not cry out 
from the first lash. The alphalash descended 
again and again. Each time it struck, Hitt be- 
came more excited. 

I was lounging across the room on a 
couch. Though Hitt could not see me, I 
looked like a true human: one hundred eighty 
centimeters tall, sturdily muscled, haughty 
gray eyes, aquiline nose, chestnut hair, lips 
that could be cruel. But 1 was not human. 
Risa prowled like a cat through drawers and 
closets, collecting valuables. She was not 
human either. Her ermine fur had a silver 
sheen. When she smiled, sharp teeth 
flashed. Amber eyes, with pupils contracted 
into vertical slits, glowed with their own light. 
She appeared standard sphinx, save the 
quivering tendrils about her head. 

Though the callbody appeared human, 
she was not real. She was an illusion. 

A figment of my imagination only knew a's 
much as I let it. A magician's image was 
conjured for his pleasure and for the confu- 
sion of his audience. 

64 OMNI 

wanted witnesses to the night's activities. If 
there were any, a ring on my finger broad- 
cast a field that would confuse their sensors. 

Risa discovered the wall safe behind a 
mutaholo. She glanced in my direction and 
smiled. I nodded. 

Hitt split into two images. One ghost con- 
tinued thrashing. The other walked over to 
the safe and placed its palm on the sensing 
surface while staring into a retinal camera. 
Hitt would not remember any of this. Clever 
psychosurgery might be able to dredge it 
up, but not without damaging quite a bit of 
memory. The safe swung open. Hitt fused 
into one figure again and continued whip- 
ping the girl. Risa looted the safe. She held 
up her thumb. Time to end this psidrama. 

By now the callbody was completely cov- 
ered with ionic fire. Every square centimeter 
of skin was alight with a webwork of decay- 
ing protons. She did not scream or beg for 
mercy. That made Hitt furious. He was even 

i77ie callbody 

was covered with ionic fire. 

Every centimeter 

of skin was alight with a 

webwork of 

decaying protons. She did not 

scream or beg for 

mercy during the ordeal $ 

more brutal with his lashing. 

Hitt's reaction was predictable. His psy- 
chopathology was quite conventional. I en- 
vied him that. I wished I could be as sure of 
my motives. But I couldn't. My past had been 
constructed for the convenience of the 
Corps. What dim recollections existed prior 
to my conscription could not be trusted and 
were as insubstantial as dreams. 

But if I didn't know myself, I did know Hitt. 
His rage at the girl's silence caused the al- 
phalash to whip with a frenzy, seeking tender 
places. Her skin burned in an incandescent 
reticulum. I let the girl slump in her shackles, 
as though he had killed her. (Some dim sense 
of deja vu disturbed me. I had an uncanny 
feeling I had seen all this before, as though 
we were repeating an old ritual. I pushed the 
discomfort away.) 

Even the girl's apparent death did not ap- 
pease Hitt's anger He slapped her across 
the face, again and again. She did not re- 
spond. He suspected she was feigning. He 
kicked her. Her body rocked in its chains in 
synchrony with his kicks. The girl's face 
changed into another's: rouge-red cheeks, 
white acrylic skin, poker-chip blue eyes, curls 
ol yellow yarn, button nose. A doll's face. The 

visage angered me. I did not know why it 
should. But I was furious at Hitt. 

Protons tied the girl's skin, embedding 
themselves in Hitt's foot. He screamed and 
stopped kicking her. His foot flamed with 
ionic fire. He could not stand the pain, He 
grabbed a sonic knife and cut off his own 
extremity. But even that did not free him. 
Neurons remembered and sang with phan- 
tom pain. Hitt sank to the floor, moaning. 

Before we left, I sent one final scene into 
Hitt's mind: He hauled the callbody into the 
shower and cut it into manageable pieces, 
which were fed to the dispoz unit. 

Risa and I were safe. I took her hand, and 
we walked out the door. Hitt's thought swirled 
after us, confused with pain. Yet within his 
raveling mind tapestry, there was a locked 
Weave. He kept some secret from us. No 
matter. We had beaten him. Hitt would never 
report the robbery; he thought he had a 
murder to conceal from the varks. He would 
not want to bring suspicion to himself. Our 
larceny would never be investigated. 

Safe in our own room, we made love. 

Risa lay beside me on a bed of wombskin 
in the Myssa Suite of the Hotel Ganymede. 
There were eleven similar suites, each 
named after one of the ancient city-states on 
Earth. They formed a crystal duodecagon 
atop the hotel's main spire, which rose two 
thousand meters from the floor of Chalise 
Crater to protrude through hydrocarbon 
mists into clear, cold space. 

Overhead, Jupiter hung like an injected 
eye. Below, wisps of yellow fog lapped over 
the edge ol the crater to swirl like wraiths 
across pocked terrain. A room with a view, 
the desk clerk had said. It ought to have one 
for what the hotel charged. But we wanted 
to be in proximity to the rich. The rich were 
the only ones worth pandering to and prey- 
ing on. Besides, the varks wouldn't be ex- 
pecting us to stay in a suite of the most ex- 
pensive hotel in the system. If any vice vark 
had followed us from Titan, he'd be expect- 
ing Risa and me to hole up in some seamy 
icehouse in the combat zone. 

But no one had followed. I'd made sure of 
that. The ferret who'd made us in Chronus 
city was now drooling and staring blankly at 
his toes. He'd been brave but stupid. He 
hadn't been wired: no hardware in his skull; 
no cameras behind his eyes, no bugs in his 
ears. All his data were stored in software, 
including the on y evidence against us, A big 
mistake. It would take the psychesurgeons 
a year to bring his mind out of its autistic 
fugue. And each of their psionic manipula- 
tions would result in a few hippocampal syn- 
apses shorting out. By the time he awoke, 
he'd be lucky to remember his name, much 
less the identity of the path team that had 
once prowled his dream-time. Risa and I 
would never be traced from Titan to Gan- 
ymede. We'd already scored big with Hitt, 
ten million in cash, not to mention gems and 
drugs. Chalise was ripe for the taking; our 
prey was everywhere perversions were 

My hand stroked along her spine, 

smoothing ermine fur; she arched her back 
in rhythm. Static sparked blue between my 
lingers. With my other hand, I traced faint 
vibrations in her throat, smoothing away the 
contractions. Her eyes closed halfway, their 
irises caught and held jovelight like shat- 
tered amber. Instead of hair, silver filaments 
grew from her scalp, now quivering like fuzz 
on a ihistle head. But they could lay flat and 
would then be mistaken for the mane of a 
sphinx. Her nostrils flared as she breathed. 
She rolled over and kneeled above me, 
straddling my body with hands and knees. 
She bent to kiss me; a rough tongue slipped 
past my lips. Furry breasts pressed against 
my chest. I closed my eyes. We wandered 
■ the psychic ether, riding updratts of thought. 
Our mind's eye searched below for prey. I 
looked for Hiit. He should still be in his room 
above ours. But the room was empty. I ex- 
panded the search. His thought patterns 
were nowhere to be found. How could he 
hide from our psychic senses? Only the dead 
were safe from us. 

Don't worry, Risa said in my thoughts. Hitt 
no longer matters. We have other prey. 
Is he c/ead' 

No, just hiding. She laughed, almost a 
growl in my ear. /'// explain later. Forget about 
him. The sea Is filled with other tlsh tonight. 
She settled down, coupling, then rocked 
gently up and down. Her mucosal neurons_ 
interfaced with my cutaneous ones. My mind 
meshed with hers, our psychic sensorium 
expanded. We flew as one over Chalise, 
soaring among bright tendrils of thought. 
See how many fish? 

Our talons plucked only the amber fibrils, 
bringing them close to our face. We touched 
our tongue to shining filament, tasting fear, 
while our nostrils sniffed its acrid scent. We 
listened to terrified voices calling to an un- 
caring sky. Our eyes traced each filament 
back to its source, back to a living mind. The 
filaments unraveled there into a dream tap- 
estry of a pathetic creature quivering with 
fright. There was prey aplenty for dream 
hunters. ■ 

Tonight's hunt is finished. Let's save prey 
for later. 

We fell back to our room; our sensorium 
contracted to include only our coupled bod- 
ies. We made love as one body, finally quiv- 
ering with parasympathetic discharge. The 
climax could have come from one or both of 
us; no matter, it was perceived in unison. 

We separated, two minds coalesced out 
of one, two bodies close bul untouching. 

I watched her eyes roll back, her tongue 
dart in and out between her lips. 
. I envied her the ability to fall asleep so 
quickly, like an innocent animal. I was jeal- 
ous of those genes. Sleep did not come as 
quickly for me. Her breathing slowed, be- 
came deeper and regular. Soon her eyelids 
fluttered with fasciculations ol REM be- 
neath. She dreamed. 

I wished"! could dream her dreams. How 
wonderful they must be, from what little she 
would tell me: animal dreams -filled with 
moving air and warm sunlight and the smells 
of Earth. As a pathic gestalt. we could share 


our thoughts but for some reason not our 
dreams. Perhaps it was for the best. Some 
secrets are needed; 

Later, I finally dozed. Images rose in my 
sleep-lulled brain: A baby suckled content- 
edly at his mother's breast, only to open his 
eyes and find he was really clinging to a wire 
mannequin with a rubber nipple protruding 
through the mesh; ghost children argued 
over a doll, pudgy hands tugged on plastic 
arms and legs until they were disjointed and 
the doll's torso and head fell to the ground: 
doll's eyes swung back and forth, conjuring 
dreams out of their hypnotic rhythm. 

I woke with my skin afire. Protons danced 
on my body like St. Elmo's fire. I thrashed 
about, trying to put out the fire. Risa woke 
also. She pinned me down with her hands 
and began licking me with her tongue. With 
each rough stroke, a little fire was extin- 
guished. She started with my face and 
worked down my body. Gradually, I relaxed. 

You can stop now. It was only a dream. 

QHe'd been brave 

but stupid. He hadn't been 

wired: no hardware 

jn his skull, no cameras behind 

his eyes, no 

bugs in his ears. All his data 

were stored in 

software. A big mistake.^ 

Just a little longer. She laughed. / like the 
salt in your sweat. 


Eventually she was finished. We lay side 
by side. "I dreamed again of being alpha- 
lashed," I said. 'A spook officer was doing it 
to me. I couldn't see her face, but I think it 
was Kaly. I was never flogged in the Corps. 
They knew better than to try that, so why do 
I dream about it? Guilt over deserting?" 

"That's the conventional interpretation." 

"Why Kaly?" 

"Because you are afraid of her." 

"I suppose." I looked at Risa. "Tell me about 
your dreams," I asked. 

She closed her eyes. This was a nightly 
ritual with us. 

" "They're hard to describe. I don't think 
they're supposed to be described, because 
they originated in nonverbal minds. There 
are images — quite vivid — and odors and 
scents and tactile sensations." 

"Do I ever appear?" 

"Sometimes." She laughed. "I pounce on 
you and eat you. What do you say to that?" 

"I guess that's the best way to be eaten. 
Do you ever dream of Colonel Kaly?" Kaly 
had been our commander when we were in 

the Corps. Now she was looking for us. 

"My dreams have forgotten her." 

"I wish mine had." 

She didn't answer. 

Eventually the room lightened with Gany- 
mede's artificial dawn. With the shadows 
gone, I could sleep undisturbed for a little 
while. But night always waited. 

Risa began to purr. 

We had spent the day in our room making 
love, dozing intermittently with the troubled 
sleep of nocturnal creatures. Now it was night 
again. Our time had come. We shunned 
daylight, even the artificial kind. Illusion is 
harder to maintain in the light of day. 

Risa was a xenohybhd. Her recombinant 
DNA had been derived from several bio- 
types: cat, dog, bird, insect. I envied her di- 
verse ancestry; each species brought along 
its own racial memories. She had dreams I 
could not imagine. I was an allohybrid; al- 
though my DNA was still entirely human, it 
had also been blended by genosurgeons. 
My dreams were human dreams but not 
pleasant ones. I cared too much for Risa to 
want her to glimpse my dream-time. 

And neither of our dreams were really our 
own; our real memories had been wiped out 
by psychesurgeons. We had been given 
synthetic persona to replace our own — just 
the essentials— and a childhood was not 
essential. As far as we could remember, we 
were born out of the hybertanks. Our lives 
began with conscription into the Corps, 

I can't remember how many times I'd 
asked the chameleon officer who com- 
manded us to tell me who I was and what I'd 
done to" deserve a hitch in the Corps. Kaly 
always refused, laughing, saying it was bet- 
ter for morale that I not know. 

Do you ever wonder about who you were 
before'' I asked Risa, already knowing the 
answer. But sometimes words are needed. 

How much do you remember? 
She hesitated. No more than you. A few 
fragments, a few bad dreams. A few 
glimpses of a place on Earth where I once 
must have lived. I think I must have killed 
someone once. Why, t don't know. But a face 
sometimes bothers me in dreams. Not often 
now. Usually my dreams are quite pleasant. 
You don't want to know more? 
Not now. That self no longer matters be- 
cause I am no longer her and can never be 
her again. I don't have to be sorry for what 
she did. I don't have to feel guilty for her 
crimes. I'm someone else now. I have an- 
other past with different ancestors. I have 
dreams of soaring in the air, prowling in the 
moonlight, stalking prey, mating with un- 
complicated passion. 
Is that enough? 

It's enough forme. My animal genes have 
brought dreams enough. I have better in- 
stincts now. From my cat genes. 
What do your cat genes tell you to do now? 
They make me want to prowl at night. She 
leap! from the bed and landed lightly on the 
windowsill across the room, balancing her- 
sell in front of the window. Her eyes watched 




rf'S,,..^."',,.,. .„•>•""' B he eyes ot the Voyager and Pio- 

■neet' saw' the orange lava plains and blue geysers of k> and the 

■ -dazzling aurora effect created by lightning bolts on Jupiter. But no 

spacecraft will ever'capture the image of a moonrise over a molten 

lakefront ot Earth 3.8 billion years ago (above). Don Davis does. 

•As long as time travel is impossible, informed 
artistic speculations will be our eyes and ears3 

"I am sure thai lime travel is as impossible as fasfer-than-light 
travel." says Davis. "As long as this is true, informed artislic 
speculation will play a big part in our attempls to see the won- 
ders ol the universe." Maybe the only tachyons in this universe 
lie in the human mind. In any case. Davis has traveled back in 
time to witness the volcanic genesis ol mountain ranges and 
seas on early Earth (below) and gone forward to view the halt- 
illumined planel Irom a solar-powered satellite (below, right). 
His inner eye has witnessed such alien wonders as a lunar land- 
scape under pale earthlighl (above, right). Unlike photographs. 
Davis's spacescapes are full of stars. "They are too dim to ex- 
pose on film, bui they are visible to an observer." he explains. 

"The idea is to synthesize a view a Hu- 
man would have." he points out. If that 
human lived in a Gerard O'Neill-style 
space colony of the future, he might 
view a terrene, eclipse of the sun 
through a prism of condensation 
clouds (above, left). And if he time- 

traveled 4 billion years into the past 
and surveyed the primitive, vapor- 
ringed Earth from (he far side of the 
moon (at the precise moment of a me- 
teor impacl). his perspective of this 
speciacuiar event might well resem- 
ble Ihe painting ai right DO 

•If a person could travel backward In time 4 billion years 
and stand on the moon, what do you think he would see?*' 

"Please don't do this." 

"I'm going to dismantle your library piece 
by piece, you disgusting little clerk. Then 111 
call everyone I know and expose you. See 
ii I'm afraid of the CIA." ■ 

"It's not the CIA." ■ 

"I'm not afraid of anything 1 " Francine said. 
"You people hide in the dark, you make your 
little threats. But when you're exposed, you're 
nothing — " 

Who would have thought there to be so 
much passion in her? Three dates, three 
casual fucks, some dinners, a walk on the 
piers, one concert, an unfortunate confes- 
sion, and Ihen all of this. She had reacted as 
if I were an assassin. 

"It must be being surrounded by all of the 
dying,""! said to her, trying to be reasonable. 
"Yes, that would explain it, that would ex- 
plain the rage. But I'm just a victim, too, Fran- 
cine. I do what they tell me." 

"That's the great line of our age; 'Don't 
bother me, I just work here.' " 

She seized two binders this time and 
kicked one across the room. The heavy im- 
pact of her little shoe caused the reinforce- 
ment to break. Pages spewed from a height, 
settled unevenly on the floor like nesting 
birds. I endeavored up to this point— as must 
be clear— to be reasonable. I am a reason- 
able man. 

But I am afraid that at this moment I lost 
control of myself. 

A description of the events of the next hour 
or so is not necessary. That description would 
be too painful, albeit truly humbling, but I 
can say that I was brought to realize the in- 
ner, substantial truth of that which I had writ- 
ten in a group of documents to be found in 
a warehouse in Amman during the invasion 
of 1991: "One truly does not know the meas- 
ure of the man until one has been tested by 
the invader. One truly does not know the 
running of the beast, the stalking of all the 
steps, until one has heard the heartbeat of 
the self. One never truly knows, then, until 
one knows, and not an instant before." 

It was a formative experience, let me say 
that, also quite painful. At length I found my- 
self at the desk of my supervisor. It was an 
emergency appointment, but the agency 
makes it clear in the Career & Salary Plan 
manual: Normal procedures may be over- 
ridden in case of serious difficulty. I was in 
serious difficulty One must never operate 
conventionally in our terrain, not after what I 
had done. What ! had done. I am afraid that 
I was rather out of control. I sobbed. I wrung 
my hands. The supervisor listened quietly to 
the recapitulation and coda, then made a 
call. "We will have operatives there immedi- 
ately," he said. "Are you sure the scene was 
absolutely secure?" 
"It was when I left." 

"Stop your sniveling. You know that won't 
get you anywhere. You are positive that 

there were no witnesses? No one around?" 
"Yes," I said, sighing deeply, heaving; "Yes, 
I am quite sure." 

"And it was accomplished just as quietly 
as you say 7 There were no undue sounds 7 " 
"No, there were not." I tried to hold back 
the sobbing but could not. "I did care for 
her," I said. "She was very nice at the begin- 
ning. I thought we had a real relationship. I 
felt that I could tell her things. Maybe it was 
because she worked with dying people. It 
was only later that it got dreadful. I made a 

"Oh, yes, you did," the supervisor said. 
"Oh, yes indeed, you did." I would engage 
in characterological description here, but like 
all of them, like me on the job, he was 
masked. His voice was without affect. It is 
important to remember that there is nothing 
personal in all of this. "You made a terrible, 
a stupid mistake," he said, "but now you'll 
know better, won't you 7 " 
"Oh, yes." 

"You understand why these jobs must be 
"Oh, yes," I said, "I know that now." 
His eyes were kindly but nonetheless cold. 
Impenetrable even. Something like the 
agency prose itself. "Yes," I said, "I under- 
stand that now and much else." 

"You were really quite stupid, and you will 
have to pay the price for that stupidity." 
"My job?" 

The supervisor stared at me. "The job?" 
he said. "That's the last thing. We wouldn't 
even ask your life." 
"I want my job." 

"The siiuation, however, is manageable. 
It's a little tricky, but we've had worse. You 
knew her fairly well, of course?" 

"Of course. Excep! that I misjudged her 
terribly at the end." 

"It's too late to think of that. Draft a state- 
ment, then." 
"A statement?" 

"Right here and now. A credible suicide 
note that can be found with the corpse. Don't 
worry about the strangulation; cyanosis can 
occur for lots of reasons, and there are ways 
around it. But then there's the note. It has to 
be right. I assume you can take care of it. 
There isn't much time." 

"I can take care of it," I said gratefully, 
seeing for the first time (but I could have de- 
duced it earlier!) a way out. "Yes, that 
shouldn't be too hard." 

"It's Sunday," the supervisor said, "and also 
I would prefer to play this very close. I would 
prefer to keep it in the family. I would .prefer 
notto call in the domestic division." 

There are seven reasons, and of them all 
only the seventh counts: to take testimony, 
to leave testimony, to make a difference. 
Hence Ihe library and hence the note to be " 
left beside you, my love. 
■ / am sorry, Francine. Had you but under- 
stood, it could have been different. Had I but 
understood, you might have been with me 
yet. We do what we must do, and we know 
none other. The secret, the document itself , 
is my We. DO 



of iuture language is its ability to influence 
the way that we think. In 7984, for example, 
George Orwell prophetically demonstrated 
that a language developed and imple- 
mented by the state would serve to control 
the population at large. If all the words that 
describe subversive acts are eradicated, he 
purported, then successive generations be- 
come incapable of thinking subversively. In 
the words of one of the characters in the 
book; "Every year fewer and fewer words, 
and the range of consciousness always a 
little smaller. ... In the end we shall make 
thoughtcri—e literally impossible." 

Orwell did not develop Newspeak as a 
central feature of his novel. The characters 
seldom use ii, and the vocabulary is not ex- 
plored in detail. Still, il clearly demonstrates 
that language no! only reflects changes in 
the future but also creates them. 

In a very different novel, The Embedding, 
writer Ian Watson has taken this principle 
considerably further, implying that a new 
language cou c actually bi. id a new reality. 
Moreover, whereas O f wol! = Newspeak crip- 
ples human freedom, Watson's conception 
ol a "synthetic language" serves the oppo- 
site function: II liberates the speaker from 
the preconceptions imposed by traditional, 
linguistic structure. 

The Embedding describes Ihree social 
groups: children who have been raised in a 
laboratory environment, speaking a syn- 
thetic language: a Soulh American tribe 
whose unique language in some way en- 
ables tribe members to transcend them- 
selves; and alien creatures, whose emissary 
explains, "The mind's concepts of reality [are] 
based on the environment it has evolved 
in. . . . We mean to put all these different 
viewpoints together, to deduce the entire 
signature of This-Reality. From this knowl- 
edge we shall deduce the reality modes ex- 
ternal to it— grasp the Other-Reality, com- 
municatewith it, control It!" 

Ultimately, all three groups overcome the 
limitations of what we normally consider 
possible. Because language enables these 
groups to perceive their worlds differently, 
the realities they experience have laws that 
are very different from our own. 

Exploring language is one of the more in- 
teresting challenges in science fiction. Yet, 
even now,' relatively few writers attempt it. 
It's not surprising that most science-liction 
writers include just a smattering of jargon, to 
give the impression of future language. The 
reason is clear enough: Inventing a lan- 
guage that is both comprehensible and 
plausible is one of the most difficult chal- 
lenges a writer can face. And because it's 
impossible to predict how language will de- . 
velop, a writer's time may be better spent 
thinking about science, soc'clogy, and other 
elements that can be plausibly extrapo- 
lated. Most readers, after all, seem willing to 
accept worlds of the future described in lan- 
guage ot the present. DO 

■ hen we published Omni's „-,. 

■ sixth-anniversary Delphic experts cons 
I Poll questionnaire last Oc- ideas to be too 
thought we knew what to ex- ( 


. will be ; 
Almost surely before 2040.'' 



i puter technology and 

k, and play— would be ample: When will most homes have do- tior 

Omni's readers have their mestic robots? Nearly 40 percent of '" 

eyes on the future, are knowledgeable readers expected mechanical servants 

in the ways of science, and are unafraid by the year 2020, while one in four opted 

to follow where new technologies lead, for the following two decades. space shuttle? Only one sixth of our 

theyseemedtheperfectgrouptotapfor "After the year 2000 for sure," de- readers thought such trips would be 

bold predictions about what the future dared computer consultant Carl Hel- possible by the turn of the century. But 

will bring and when it will happen. mers, editorof Robotics Age magazine, according to G. Harry Stine, a former 

But some of the results of our second "For a robot to do anything useful takes NASA engineer who has : ~- ■' 

Deiphic Poll (we conducted the first one more power than today's batteries can agency-sponsored studies ol 

in 1978) surprised even us. in many in- supply. People haven't even figured out dustry, 

" " is proved what tht 

is solved and Brown, of the H 
, i . : : ,• mKUMA TAKEGAMI 

^ s r /■ ¥—4* 

/ ■ ■ 

all the marketing for NASA." he says. "His 
work suggests that tourism will be the big- 
gest of all space industries. All it takes is (he 
decision to go ahead." 

What about weiglilk-::^ snorts? "Ten to fif- 
teen years," Stine believes. "Chances are that 
it will be something like water polo without 
the water." By comparison, nearly all the 
readers picked the next century, and almost 
12 percent believed that space sports would 
remain the stuff ot science fiction. 

Interestingly, only the most conservative 
readers doubted that one popular contact 
sport — baby making — would make the as- 
cent into space. But again the majority of 
Omni forecasters put (he happy event tar off 
into the future. Fully two thirds predicted that 
' a child will be born in space by the year 2040; 
only 17 percent opted for this century. Stine's 
verdict: "anytime we have a man and woman 
in space in the right circumstances— most 
likely within filteen years." 

On other space questions, estimates var- 
ied widely When will people walk on Mars? 
In our 1978 poll, the median date was 1992. 
This time around, one in five expected a Mars 
landing in this century, but 43 percent put 
the date between 2000 and 2020. Only 2 
percent said it would never happen — the 
fewest "no" votes in the survey. 

On this question, though, the optimists may 
be wrong. Space scientist Carol Stoker, who 
has chaired two professional conferences on 
the subject, estimates that the establish- 
ment of a permanent Mars base is possible 
before the year 2020 but only if we get started 
within the next five years. NASA now pro- 
jects a Mars base by 2035. 

By comparison, establishing a moon base 
sounds easy. But only 8 in 100 readers ex- 
pected to see a lunar colony in this century. 
NASA administrator James Beggs agrees. 
The moon-base constituency, he says, is too 
small to win government funding. NASA now 
foresees a lunar base around 2010. 

When will we meet intelligent beings from 
space? One Omni reader in four picked the 
next 35 years, but just as many held out for 
the twenty-second century or later, and 13 
percent said it would never happen. That 
came as a surprise, since in 1978 only 5 per- 
cent hope of meeting intelligent 
beings from space. The experts held that all 
guesses are equally valid. 

Our poll drew many letters explaining 
people's answers, and more than half dealt 
with the question of meeting E.T. Many let- 
ters were of the UFOs-are-al ready-here va- 
riety. A few responses were surprisingly 
elaborate. One reader forecast that in 90. 
years or so, gentle, friendly-seeming aliens 
would arrive but would turn out to be hostile 
and have to be driven from our solar system. 
Shortly thereafter, we would meet fierce- 
looking aliens who were actually gentle and 
well-meaning. But they, too, would be driven 
away. 'The experts, by contrast, did not go 
into any detailed scenarios.. 

Some of the hardest questions to answer 
dealt with issues in which human elements 
and not technology would affect the future. 
Thus, we do not know when someone will 

78 OMNI 

open a church for the worship of technology, 
when telepathy classes will become corn- 
mom or when the superpowers will unite to 
destroy a comet that threatens the earth. Yet 
the answer to one important question proved 
unarguable. Soccer, most readers held, will 
never win more U.S. fans than football. 

Unexpectedly, some hard science, and 
technological developments proved as dif- 
ficult to forecast as social issues, and for the 
same reason — they depend on human fac- 
tors. More than hat our readers said that 
physics will confirm a unified field theory no 
later than 2040. with most settling on the first 
two decades of the twenty-first century. Yet 
the physicists themselves made comments 
on the order of, "It requires a conceptual 
breakthrough that you can't predict. Twenty 
to thirty years is not a bad guess, but it could 
be announced next week." 

Biomedicine, in contrast, seemed rela- 
tively easy to forecast. In most cases, read- 
ers' and experts' opinions matched. Fully 45 
percent of the readers believe we'll see the 

^Tourists will 
be able to vacation on the 

space shuttle 

, within the next ten years, 

say the experts. 

The marketing for it is 

done. All 

it needs is the go-ahead} 

last of measles and whooping cough within 
35 years. For an expert opinion, we went to 
Dr. William Regeson. professor of medicine 
at the Medical College- ot Virginia. As former 
head of FIBER, a now-defunct iund for inte- 
grated biomedical research, he has kept 
tabs on a wide variety of medical fields, in- 
cluding genetics, aging, and the regenera- 
tion of lost limbs. "The medical techniques 
we need to eliminate the major childhood 
diseases are within reach," he says. "How 
long it will take depends on how hard we 
push. We could do it in thirty years," 

Readers and experts also agree that 
cloning will never replace traditional repro- 
duction, but as to when cloning would be 
done, opinions varied widely. One reader in 
five believed a person would be cloned by 
the year 2000; 26 percent more picked the 
first two decades of the new century. This 
was markedly later than the 1978 poll fore- 
cast; then the consensus called for a clone 
in the late Eighties. 

Physicians put the date much further away. 
Dr. Regelson' summed up their position: 
"Technically, it couid happen anytime some- 
one really puts his mind to it." he says. "The 
reason would not be to duplicate some ego- 

tist but to provide spare parts to repair the 
heart, brain, and other organs. I personally 
do not believe it will ever happen. The ethi- 
cal problems are just too big." 

How soon will we implant an artificial gene 
into the embryo to prevent viral infections in 
later life? According to Dr. Regelson, who is 
himself studying ways to ward off viral infec- 
tions, some such process should be avail- 
able in five to ten years. "It will not involve 
genetic engineering," he adds. "Instead, it 
will come from work on control of the im- 
mune system." Readers' opinions varied, but 
most forecast a later date. 

When will it be possible to regrow lost 
limbs and internal organs? Dr. Robert O. 
Becker, then with the Syracuse (New York) 
Veterans Administration Hospital, took the 
first step nearly 15 years ago. when he found 
that electromagnetic fields could help a rat 
regrow much of an amputated foreleg. Other 
researchers are now working in this area, but 
they say they will need 25 to 30 years before 
they can replace human organs— about 
what readers expected. 

One question uncovered a dramatic con- 
flict: When wi.l alternatives to plastic surgery 
resculpt the human body without scalpel or 
pain? The most popular choices fell into the 
first half of the twenty-first century. Physi- 
cians, however, didn't believe such a tech- 
nique would ever be developed. "There's no 
way to reshape a large mass of flesh without 
cutting it," says Regelson. 

Most surprising were several biomedical 
questions that experts answered far less 
conservatively than Omni readers did. For 
example: When will the average human life 
expectancy top 100 years? About half our 
readers picked the first 40 years of the 
twenty-first century, and a startling 16 per- 
cent either held out for the twenty-second 
century or said the average human life would 
never exceed 100 years. But Regelson. 
whose FIBER fund supported much of the 
needed research, thinks it will happen within 
the next 15 years. "Several developments 
could be in use in two or three years if only 
more money were available for this work." 
he says. 

When will we be able to cure most forms 
of cancer? Half our readers thought that 
would come between the years 2000 and 
2040; only 15 percent agreed with the ex- 
perts — within this century. "The bulk of it will 
be out of business in ten years," one cancer 
specialist declared. 

What about drugs to speed learning? One 
reader in five agreed with the experts — be- 
fore the year 2000 — but even they were too 
cautious. Drugs that can boost learning and 
memory already exist. For example, there is 
a potent memory aid, a hormone called va- 
sopressin, now available by prescription. 

in all, our second Delphic Poll predicts a 
dramatically different world in the next sev- 
eral decades. Those changes, which will ri- 
val the techno ogical upheaval of the early 
twentieth century, are likely to both amaze 
and confuse a large number of people. But 
if our poll is right, it's safe to say, Omni read- 
ers won't be among the surprised. DO 



the people around them. "This sense of con- 
nectedness," says Wood, "wins loyalty. It will 
reverberate throughout the organization, 
changing its structure and tone and making 
it more efficient and productive." 
, It is these last two qualities that are most 
likely to catch the eye of the American busi- 
nessman. Margaret Hennig, oi Simmons 
College Graduate School of Management 
and coauthor of The Managerial Woman, 
sees similarities between the Japanese-style 
corporation and women's approach to busi- 
ness. 'American business is looking at the 
Japanese workplace because of increased 
worker cooperation and productivity," says 
Hennig. "Over the next ten years, more and 
more women will be put into management 
for just those reasons." 

According to Hennig, there may be addi- 
tional benefits. "If we go back to the story 
about the husband and wife and the drugs 
and think ol it in terms of a management de- 
cision," argues Hennig, "what we see in the 
girls' responses is a sophisticated, concep- 
tual approach to problem solving." 

Not only has the girl, and presumably the 
female manager who uses this approach, a 
better chance of coming up with a solution 
acceptable to more people, she is more likely ■ 
to come up with a better solution simply by 

considering more of them. 

Hennig believes the woman's approach 
will' benefit other fields as well, especially 
politics, where negotiation and compromise 
are daily requirements. Her idea oi a "Gtlli- 
gan woman" is Geraldine Ferraro. "Ferraro 
is a woman who understands who she is and 
where the world is at," says Hennig. "She 
realizes it is better to compromise and do 
what she can than to be shut out" because 
she beats on everyone with a stick." 

Put enough of these kinds of women in 
positions of power — so the hope goes — and 
perhaps even the threat of nuclear war will 
be lessened. "Woman's style of moral rea- 
soning has become a political necessity for 
the preservation of the world," contends 
psychologist Dorothy Austin, of Cambridge 
Hospital, who is studying the effects that the 
threat of nuclear war has on daily life. 

Not all women, however, are Gilligan 
women. One has only to look at Britain's 
prime minister Margaret Thatcher to realize 
that. Hennig calls Thatcher a "queen bee," 
the rare woman who is so confident and self- 
protective that she can make it in spite of it 
being a man's world. The queen bee, says 
Hennig, is a critical step in the process of 
getting more women into power positions 
both in the world of politics and business. 

On the other end of the spectrum are the 
.women who care about everyone but them- 
selves. These women, says Gilligan, have 
yet. to learn that responsible caring begins 

with the self. These are the women who feel 
they can never do enough for their hus- 
bands, their children, or their bosses, 

"Women have been sold this bill of goods 
that if they care for themselves at the cost of 
others, they should be consumed with guilt," 
says Hennig. Such an attitude leads to lack 
of self-esteem, confidence, and assertive- 
ness on the job. It may also help explain why 
women are more prone than men to be mas- 
ochistic and to sufter from such psycholog- 
ical disorders as depression. 

It is necessary to encourage the devel- 
opment of well-balanced women who can 
maintain their moral approach, be effective 
in the workplace, and even help men gain a 
new perspective. To do this, says Hennig, 
"teachers and parents must change their 
underlying assumptions about girls; they 
must learn to encourage girls to expect more 
of themselves, and most important, to value 
their own viewpoints." 

That support had better come early, Gilli- 
gan has found that as girls enter their teens, 
they become increasingly vulnerable to so- 
ciety's attitudes. 'At about age twelve," Gil- 
ligan says, "girls begin to become aware that 
bringing in their own values is going to cause 
trouble. So they start waiting and watching 
other people for clues as to what their values 
should be." The result: By their mid-teens 
many girls have abandoned their own ap- 
proach to moral reasoning and taken on the 
accepted — male — norm. DO 

to read between the 



at the screen, where matics building and it he looked at his 
black lines and num- out info the cold. watch: two -thirty. No 

■■■■■■■■ ""> campus 

Turf. The final equa- was in sight. He heard the winding 
" id turned, ~* 

; had proaching. 

. He "How long has that \.. a .... 

•-—i there?" empty. H 

tree's that?" out thinking of which 

equation that had Ihe 

When the Judson, and back to He felt as if he had 
is finished, the tree. "Longer than been gone a long time, 
he collected I " 

qry and tired enough leaves go, it changes, roorr 

udson started to ghan, was sitting on 

ask what month it was, the couch. 
Dazed with fatigue, but he bit the question "I'm home," he 

he left the laboratory, back and said good staring at her. She \ 

walked down the si- night instead, and tried prettier than he 


membered. Her hair was turning from gold 
to a light brown, nicer this way. and her eyes 
were bluer than he remembered, larger and, 
now at least, meaner. 

"Me, too," she said, and turned back to 
the television. 
"How's everything?" 

"Are you mad at me?" ■ 
"Of course not. Last .week 1 told you I was 
leaving, running away with another, man, and 
you know what you said? 'That's fine, honey. 
Whatever you want.' And you haven't said a 
real thing to me since. You haven't asked 
abdut our daughter, or the lawsuit, or the 
mortgage payments, or the leak in the bath- 
■ " "Good God! What daughter?" 

She sighed and stood up. "Have you eat- 
en anything these last few days? Have you 

"I don't know. I don't remember. Millie, 
you're kidding me, aren't you?" 

"I'm kidding. Scrambled eggs? Are you 
finished with the new theory? Is that why I'm 
visible again?" 

"Millie, it's ... I have to call the President 
or someone." 
"Like Chicken Little?" 
"But the sky is tailing 1 ." 
"With or without cheese and onions?" 
He followed her into the kitchen; she took 
his hand and led him to a stool al the counter, 
pushed him down onto it. When she put a 
glass of milk before him. he tasted it as it he 
never had seen anyTbng ike il before. 
"Time's slowing down, Millie." 
She broke an egg into a bowl. 
"I couldn't believe it at first, I've checked 
everything a dozen tmes. It's slowing down." 
She broke another egg. "There is no such 
thing as time." She cracked the third egg. 
"Did you leave your coat at school?" 

He looked down at himself. That's why he 
had been so cold. "It's slowing down at an 
accelerating rate, and there's nothing- we can 
do about it!" 

She stirred the eggs gently. "Time is an 
abstract concept thai we invented in order 
to talk about change and duration," She 
added cheese and onions to the eggs, put 
butter in the skillet, and watched until it 
started to sizzle, then added the egg mix- 
ture. "Time," she said then, "has no inde- 
pendent existence of its own. Change can 
happen faster or slower, butthereisnosuch 
thing as time that can change its own rate of 

"And when it slows down enough," Jud- 
son said glumly, "it's going to stop alto- 

She put bread in the toaster and got out 
jam. "We invented-time, in order to ialk about 
seasons, physical change, growing old, and 
dying." The eggs were done at the same 
time the toast popped. It always amazed hirn 
that she knew to the second how long things 
took to get done. She never even glanced at 
a clock when she cooked. Instincts, he 
thought uneasily; it had nothing to do with 
real time. 

She put the food before him. "If there are 
si OMNI 

no events, there is no time. Time is incon- 
ceivable without events that- change, that 
evolve. It doesn't exist except as a figure of 
speech. Like 'time is of the essence.' Es- 
sence of what? Another figure of speech." 

"With the mainframe I'll be able to predict 
exactly when it will stop," he said, and be- 
gan to. eat. 

"Darling, just tell me one thing. Did you 
use the square root of minus one to get your 

He nodded, his mouth too full to speak. 

She smiled, broke off a piece of his toast, 
and nibbled it. 

"You shouldn't have waited up," he said 
stiffly as soon as he could. 

"I wanted to. I knew you'd come home 
eventually, hungry, tired, cold. Besides, I can 
sleep in tomorrow morn'ng Saturday, you 
know. No classes." She taught medieval 
English literature. 

"Of course I know." 

Which Saturday? he wondered. He 
glanced over his shoulder at the calendar 

<»Dazed with 
fatigue, he left the laboratory. 

He stopped 

abruptly. There was a bare 

tree breaking up 

the light from a corner 

streetlamp. He 

heard footsteps and turned.^ 

and saw that October was displayed. 

"The twenty-eighth, "she said kindly. "This 
is the weekend that we change time. Do we 
set the clocks back or forward? I never re- 

"You don't .have to make fun of me," he 
said even more stiffly. 

She put her arms around him and kissed 
his cheek. "I love you," she said. 

Icy rains came, then snow and more ice, 
then warmer rain that washed it all away. The 
trees were enveloped in a pale-green haze 
that turned into a dense canopy casting 
green light, golden and red light, and be- 
came bare limbs that broke up the pale illu- 
mination from the streetlamp. 

"You're going to be bored," Judson said 
as he settled down next to Millie in the main 
auditorium of the conference center. "Duk- 
-weiler's a bore even to me." 

"I wouLdn't have missed this for anything." 

"Did you really listen to me up there when 
I was giving my paper?" 

"You know I did. You talked about epsilon 
and alpha and omega, and there were those 
infinity signs here and there on the black- 

board, and then you multiplied everything 
by the square root of minus one, and the 
audience applauded. You were absolutely 

"I've had good comments already, They're 
going over the figures with everything from 
hard calcu siors :o The mainframe." 

"I told you not to worry. Of course they'll 
take notice." 

Dukweiler was introduced and started to 
read his paper. He wrote down numbers and 
symbols on the board as he talked. He was 
an arid speaker, obviously too nervous even 
to glance at the audience. His presentation 
was too fast for Judson to follow and do the 
numbers at the same time. 

Judson felt a chill midway through and 
leaned forward intently. When Dukweiler had 
finished, Judson turned to Millie. "Did you 
hear that? Do you realize what that idiot is 

"It sounded a lot like your paper, all those 
epsiions and alphas and omegas, and then 
he multiplied — " 

"I know what he did!" 

"He thinks time is speeding up?" 

"I can refute his findings!" 

She picked up her knitting. "I think those 
men are coming to talk to you. I'll wait here." 

He left her and walked to the rear of the 
auditorium. A surge oi attendees rushed lor 
the podium, and another group of people 
moved slowly in his direction, some speak- 
ing in low voices, some frowning in thought, 
a few working their calculators methodically 
as they walked. Half and half, he thought with 
satisfaction, and he tried to see who had 
lined up in the enemy camp. He nodded to 
Whitcombe; who was the first to reach him. 
As others drew near, they spoke in meas- 
ured tones, choosing words carefully, and 
they were solidly on his side; they had been 1 
convinced by his proofs, by his rigorous 
logic. It was an hoscapable conclusion, they 
agreed; time certainly was slowing down, 
and a situation was developing that would 
prove to be. of the utmost gravity. 

Finally the groups began to disperse; it 
was cocktail time. The gang at the podium 
led the way to the bar in a near-stampede; 
the other group followed more leisurely. 
When Judson freed himself, he looked at 
Millie, calmly knitting with a slight smile on 
her face. It was just as well that she did not 
realize the seriousness of the time problem, 
he thought with a flash of tenderness. 

"Will we experience anything differently?" 
she had asked. 

"Relative to what?" 

"Ah well," she had said. "Nine months will 
still seem like nine months." And just like that 
she had dismissed one of the great mys- 
teries of the universe. 

"Judson," Whitcombe drawled at his el- 
bow. "We'll be sending you an invitation to 
speak down at Texas A&M. Have to get to- 
gether about the best time before all this 
breaks up." 

Judson nodded. A life's work lay ahead of 
him, more than one lifetime. He smiled at 
Whitcombe. "Happy to come down," he said, 
"if I can find the iime.'"DO 

bA malevolent race of 

aliens might use visiting species 

as pets or food '.9 

The concept of the 
starship has been with 
us for almost a cen- 
tury. Bui in the end. we 
may not need such 
craft to traverse the 
vastness of interstel- 
lar space. Instead of 
literally traveling to the 
stars, machinery in 
tow. we may be able 
to transmit radio 
waves coded with the 
blueprints for all ter- 
restrial life, including 
man. These waves, 
describing both our 
genetic code and our 
technology, would be 
received by our alien 
neighbors and trans- 
lated into physical 
form on alien shores. 

The merit of send- 
ing such messages— 
in essence, the cyber- 
netic seed of human- 
ity — becomes clear when we examine the complexity of 
starflight. The classic scenarios call for interstellar arks: vast, 
mobile space colonies powered by fusion or some other 
exotic energy force. These ships would cruise the cosmos 
for generations, their passengers living and dying en route 
More modem concepts shrink the size of the ships by send- 
ing the colonists as frozen embryos capable of gestating in 
artificial wombs just before arrival After the landing, spe- 
cially programmed robots would raise these individuals to 
adulthood and create an earthlike civilization. 

But even this advanced colony carries potentially fatal 
disadvantages. It can't accelerate beyond a fraction of the 
speed of light and could become hopelessly lost, suffer a 
disabling accident along the way, or fail to grow and thrive 
at its specified destination. 

The cybernetic-seed approach, by contrast, avoids most 
of these difficulties. The encoded information, sent by radio 
transmitters, would travel indefinitely and could not be de- 


strayed by accident. 
There would be no 
need for advanced 
propulsion systems or 
enormously expen- 
sive spacecraft. And 
our settlers would be 
aided by technically 
sophisticated aliens 
who could negotiate 
the difficulties at hand. 
Any form of inter- 
stellar flight eould 
pose problems; A 
malevolent alien race 
might reconstruct vis- 
iting species, only lo 
breed them as pets 
or for food. An extra- 
terrestrial scientist 
might alter the ge- 
netic structure of the 
colony, creating bi- 
zarre, subintelligent 
creatures for tests in a 
lab. And cosmic war- 
riors might master a 
species' technology in hopes of invading the home planet 
But despite the dangers, it's far too late to hide from the 
stars. Our Earth — warm, green, and rich in oxygen — has 
been visible to advanced societies for billions of years. Our 
/ Love Lucy broadcasts are already several light-decades 
into the cosmos. If we don't traverse the cosmos in search 
of others, they may well come to us. 

Technically sophisticated civilizations, in fact, may even 
now be beaming their signals to Earth Our radio telescopes 
are currently scanning the heavens for messages !i : 
stars. Once we receive them, we may discover r .:. 
codes for the beings that sent them tn time, we might be 
able to reconstruct these aliens, establishing them in nearby 
space colonies of their own. 

Discovery of a cybernetic seed could explain why aliens 
have never been found. Perhaps they're already here, hid- 
den in the crests and troughs of a radio wave, beams of 
potential waiting to be aroused.— T. A HEPPENHE'MER 

If there is a symbol for 
scientific quackery, it is the 
perpetual- motion machine A 
device ihal supposedly 
produces more power than it 
consumes, this bogus piece 
Of equipment would, i! it. 
really worked, solve all our 
energy woes, breaking 
accepted laws of physics in 
the process. 

Despite these facts, 
though, a Los Angeles jury 
recently acquitted two men 
who raised hundreds of 
thousands of dollars from 
investors backing such 
a machine (pictured above). 
Last August, after a three- 
month trial and more than two 
weeks of deliberation, the 
jury found self-styled inventor 
Karl Aegerter and attorney 
Jackson Chandler innocent of 
more lhan 50 counts of 
theft, securities fraud, and 
conspiracy. The reason? The 
Jury actually believed that 
the machine worked. 

"The jurors told me they 


believed this machine pro- 
duces more energy than 
goes into it," Deputy District 
Attorney James Green ex- 
plains. "They though! the two. 
defendants were great and 
even had a party for them 
after the trial ended. I'd be 
very, very surprised," he 
adds, "if one or more of the 
jurors didn't invest money 
of their own." 

According lo Green, the 
disputed machine Is a "com- 
pressed-air-powered turbine 
that turns a sort of pinwheel 
For every five horsepower 
you get out of it," he says, 
"you have to put one hun- 
dred, horsepower in" 

But Aegerter has a different 
explanation "To put it basi- 
cally," he says, "its. a rotational 
mass that produces an 
accelerated gravitational 
field." In the near future, 
he adds, he plans to demon- 
strate the machine's revolu- 
tionary properties at a press 

His codelendant. Chandler, 
refused to be interviewed. 

— Eric Mishara 

A couple ot ranchers were 
rounding up some stray 
cows m north-central Wash- 
ington State last October 
when they discovered a gianl 
divot of soil and the hole it 
obviously Game from. Geolo- 
gists called to the scene— 
a Ireeless, boulder-strewn 
plateau on theColville Indian 
Reservation — soon 
announced that the pear- 
shaped divot weighed three 
tons and that it had been 
catapulted some 73 feet But 
what had caused the disrup- 
tion they could not say. 

The hole, with its vertical 
walls and nearly flat bottom, 
looked like it had been 
sheared with a giant cookie 
cutter, says reservation 
geologist Bill Utterback. 
Roots dangled from the walls 
of the hole, suggesting the 
divot had been ripped from 
the ground Yet the grass 
around the hole bore no 
tracks of a bulldozer or any 
other earthly machinery 

It gave me an eerie feeling.' 
Utterback says. "The divot 
could have been moved by a 
helicopter or even a UFO — 
I certainly didn't have any 

But geologist Greg Beh- 
rens.crftheUS Bureau 
of Reclamation, does. A small 
earthquake occurred last 
October 9, nine days before 
the divot was discovered, 
Gehrens explains. The soil 
there covers a shallow bed- 
rock basin, and the basin 
mtght have captured the 
earth's modest force 
fymg it inio a series of power- 
ful, concenlric shock waves 
The shock waves may have 
converged al the divot and 
popped it skyward. 

Behrens. howevei 
his theory is a guess at 
best. "All we know ir 1 
he says, "is that this piece of 
earth moved seven 1 . 
feet away from the he 
came out of " — Em: ■'. 

Tfle highest purpose rs to 
have no purpose at all.' 

—John Cage 

When Elvis Presley died on 
August 16, 1977. a multimil- 
lion-dollar industry was born. 
Legions of loyal fans plunked 
down [heir money for every- 
thing from jerseys decorated 
with the Elvis Image to Elvis 
Presley commemorative bell 
buckles, To recapture El vis's 
stage presence, fans even 
crowded nightclubs to watch 
imitators perform the late 
rock king's hit songs. 

One such imitator, enter- 
tainer Doug Maclntyre, ol 
Rockland. Massachusetts. 
now believes he's'been 
influenced by the spirit of 
Elvis himself. Not long ago, 
while Maclntyre did his Elvis 
routine at a night spot near 
Boston, his picture was taken 
by professional photogra- 
pher Jane O'Melia When the 
film was developed, one 
frame showed two ghostly 
faces hovering over Mac- 
lntyre in an eerie cloud of red 
smoke. Tfie faces, the pho- 
tographet claims, bear a 
striking resemblance to Elvis 

"I have no logical explana- 
tion lor whai happened," 
O'Melia says "The camera 
wasn't malfunctioning, and as 
far as I know, the film was 
good. It's the most urn 
photograph I've eve 1 

"The spirit of Elvis was 
watching over me thai night." 
entertainer Maelniyi 
foriy-eight. says. "Only I 
didn't know it at the time I 
honestly have no idea why 
this happened, but r : 
have told me that i n 
ally linked wjth Elvis and 
that this wiii definite! 
again " — Eric Mishara 

"All ot a sudden I 0h 
thing I shouldn't have I 
laughed. And I have one ol 
these very loud, stupid 

— ,J D 

"Sex Is a playground tor 
lonely scientists " 

Humans, dinosaurs, ana 
mastodons all walke 
earth at the dawn ol 
over4,000 years ag 
al least, is the claim of Culten 
Davis, a millionaire and 
born-agam Chnstiai" 
ForfWorth, Texas. Cullen and 
his collaborators are s 
up. in fact, that they have 
raised $5.5 million to build the 
Creation Evidences Museum 
under construction hear the 
Paluxy River, in Glen Rose. 
Texas. The Structure, to be a 
showcase tor "hard, physical 
proof" of the Bible, wili be 
the exact size and shape of 
Noah's ark as described 
by the holy book. 

"Our evidence will devas- 

tate the modern theory of 
evolution says museum di- 
rector Carl E Baugh, a 

Missouri minister who has 
done postgraduate work in 
archaeology and anthropol- 
ogy. The museum will con- 
tain, for instance, a hyperbolic 
chamber thai re-creates 
the earth's atmosphere as 
the creationists believe it 
existed before the great flood. 
"The greenhouse effect 
was more pronounced back 
then." says Baugh. who 
claims it created an atmos- 
pheric pressure more than 
twice as greai as that .existing 
today "Experiments have 
proved," he adds, "that lungs 
operate at maximum effi- 
ciency al greater air pressure. 
Gargantuan tile forms can 
be supported, and we'll 
breed exotic lite forms tike- 
Bengal tigers to see the 
ellectsongrowth " 

Another notable exhibit will 
show dinosaur tracks, large 
rai Hacks, and human foot- 
prints all in the same layer of 
limestone, proving, says 
Baugh. that they all existed at 
the- same time. Yei anplher 
display will feature an iron 
hammer encased in solid 
Stone According to standard 
dating methods. Baugh 
says the hammer is 434 mil- 
lion years old. which is im- 
possible since Homo sapiens 
have been around for lewer 
than 1 million years. "We 
think the dating methods are 
faulty," he adds "and that 
the hammer is just four thou- 
sand years old and was 
impacted into the stone dur- 
ing the flood " 

Baugh also claims to have 
excavated a 17-foof-tall 
dinosaur lhal died in the del- 
uge. While all previous dino- 

saur remains consist of 
fossilized stone, this dinosaur; 
he says, still has some car- 
bonaceous material in the 
stomach "For the first time in 
history, we have a dinosaur 
that can be carbon- dated." 
he says, "And we are sure it 
will prove to be fewer than 
live thousand years old," 
Anthropologist Jeremy 
Dahl, of the Yerkes Primate 
Center, in Atlanta, doesn't buy 
Baugh's claims. "The crea- 
tionists question most ac- 
cepted methods ol scientific 
dating, ' he says. "So their 
arguments are rather circular. 
Anybody can claim anything. 
We have an incredibly de- 
tailed amount of fossil evi- 
dence from the dinosaur era. 
buf there's absolutely ho 
indication that humans were 
around " — Sherry Baker 

"With difficulty I call to reality, 
like 3 dog. and I too howl. " 

— Pablo Neruda 

"Pain engraves a deeper 

During the Brazilian gold 
rush of the Thirties, people 
from French Guiana made 
their way south, eventually 
settling in the Amazon delta 
city of Macapa. When Brazil- 
ian anthropologist Julieta 
de Andrade. discovered the 
group In 1979. she was 
amazed to learn that they 
had developed a new, previ- 
ously unknown language, 

De Andrade, vice president 
of the Sao Paulo Folklore 
Museum soon set out to 
study the group, hoping to 
charl a language that had 
evolved in fewer than 30 
years. The original French- 
sounding dialect, she found, 
had melded with both Portu- 
guese and English ■ 
in Lanc-Patua a language 
complete with a syntax, 
accent, and vocabulary of its 
own. Although the new 
tongue has spawned no liter- 


ature. De Andrade -. 
a written language The 
25,000 people who speak 
Lanc-Patua write letters 
to one another, dealing a 
network that spans some 
1,200 square miles 

Those 25,000 peqple, she 
notes, are unusual not only 
lor Iheir language but for their 
eccentric social customs 
as well. For example, they 
rarely tell Outsiders their real 
names. 'And though they 
are very friendly people, " De 
Andrade says, "they are 
guided by superstitions of a 
mystical, voodoo origin " 

And when a family member 
dies. De Andrade points 
out, the rest of the family ig- 
nores the wake, which is held 
by friends, Instead, thev 
light candles and play domi- 
noes for eight days 
straight.— Sherry Baker 

"As above, so below " 

— Hermes Tnsmegistos 

Early in 1978 magician 
James "The Amazm-. 
(below) launched on 
alpha. One ol the most widely 
publicized hoaxes ever 
perpetrated by the foes of 
parapsychology, alpha 
starred two teenage magi- 
cians who infiltrated i 
mentsat Washing^ i 
sity's McDonnell Laboratory 
for Psychical Research. 
For four years they d 
"Mac Lai' 

accepting garden-variety 
con|unng as proof ol psychic 
powers. The hoax destroyed 
the Mae Lab's work and 
sent researchers scurrying to 
hone their protocols. 

Randi has long hinted that 
"much of alpha has never 
been revealed. " And in the 
press conference Thai 
brought aJpha to light,. he 
announced that project beta 
was already under way. 
Since then, he has also spo- 
ken of a piO|ect gamma 
What new Randi-buill horrors 
does the future hold lor para- 

Sociologist Marcello Trusa, 
director of the Center ior 
Scientific Anomalies Re- 
search, doubts that there will 
be any. The fearsome Randi. 
he charges, may have noth- 
ing up his sleeve. 

"I aonl think anybody 
really believes that R; 
holding back any of project 
alpha," he says. 'This slory 
about how he wants to spare 
poor paiapsychOlogtsts. 
any further embarrass^'-em ie 
awlulty hard to believe." 

As for project beta, Truzzi 
points out that Randi's. de- 
scription of it seems to have 
changed a bil since the 

first announcement. At that 
time, Randi said that beta 
would fail if luture psi studies 
used proper controls. But 
when parapsyehotogists 
sought his help in ruling out 
fraud, he pronounced beta a 
success H had consisted, 
he said, of waiting to see 
"whether they had learned 
Iheir lesson" and fixed their 

"What we have to ask 
ourselves." Truzzi comments. 
'is whether the original beta 
failed, prompting Randi 
to make up a story to save 

Randi denies the charge. 
'Beta was a huge success for 
parapsychology." he says. 
"I was. enormously pleased." 

That leaves gamma. Truzzi 
thinks It may have been the 
original beta, delayed a 
bil so that whatevei went 
wrong would work itseli out. 

Again, Randi denies it. 
Not only does gamma exist, 

i will reveal the 
inadequacy of someone's 
work." Just how, he is unwill- 
ing io say until gamma is 
over, sometime in the next 
two years.— Owen Davies 


same quantum state, as with photons in a 
laser, for instance. In a supersymmetric. the- 
ory each ol these oaric'es is accompanied 
by a superparticle of the other class. The 
photino, for instance, is a.heavy fermion cor- 
responding to the photon. The selectron is 
a heavy boson corresponding to the elec- 
tron. Squarks are heavy bosons corre- 
sponding to quarks. By the way, I am not 
responsible for this slanguage of supersym- 
meiry. Anyway, at the highest-energy accel- 
erators today — at CERN [European Center 
■for Nuclear Research], near Geneva, and 
■ FermiLab, outside Chicago — and at future 
accelerators that we hope will attain even 
greater energy, evidence for these super- 
partners of known particles is being sought. 
Omni: Why these supertheories? 
Gell-Mann: These 'mathematical candidates 
are very beautiful and seem to offer a coher- 
ent unified scheme in which many different 
haplons can occur naturally as components 
ol one single superfield that has simple, 
straightforward properties. Some of us dare 
to hope that such a supertheory may turn 
out to be the u.'imalo description of matter. 
[Gell-Mann uses haplon to mean "funda- 
mental fields."] 

The best candidate theories are (he so- 
called N-8 supergravi'ty theory -and the the- 
ories of superstrings in ten dimensions. Su- 
perstrings reduce to four dimensions, if one 
supposes that the ten dimensions sponta- 
neously collapse into four, with the other six 
rolled up into a little ball at every point in 
space-time. In superstring theories' or su- 
pergravity, we have generalizations of Ein- 
stein's theory of gravitation that give possi- 
ble ways of unifying everything with a single 
superfield that contains examples of all the 
kinds of particles (ha! we need. 

Superstring theories, which I think are the 
most likely to work, involve an infinite num- 
ber of elementary objects, of which some 
tens or hundreds are expected to have low 
masses. Those low-mass elementary parti- 
cles would include the graviton and, we 
hope, all the apparently elementary parti- 
cles with which we now deal, like electrons, 
quarks, photons, and so forth, and their super 

Omni: Couldn't many of today's fundamen- 
i\ particles turn out to be tomorrow's com- 

Gell-Mann: Yes, for instance it quarks and 
electrons are composites, then their funda- 
mental constituents will appear in the list of 
haplons of the correct superunified theory, 
in place of the quarks and electrons them- 

Omni: What are some other special features 
of superstring theory? 
Gell-Mann: Superstring theory seems to re- 
quire nine spalia. d'irno : iwony nstead of three 
(plus the dimension of time). The extra di- 
mensions would not then be perceived as 
such but would affect the spectrum of the 
elementary particles and the character of the 


cosmology of the very early universe. 
Omni: Why is Ihe wo'o string used? 
Gell-Mann: The usual quantum field theory 
posits a field at one point in space. Here, 
instead of an infinite number of such fields, 
we can, if we like, use a single field that is a 
funciion of a one-dimensional path in space, 
a string, Just as a point particle moving in 
time describes a world-line in four-dimen- 
sional space-time, so here a string in nine 
spatial dimensions moving in time de- 
scribes a world-sheet in ten-dimensional 

Omni: What's the difference between a 
world-line and a world-sheet? 
Gell-Mann: If you think of it in classical phys- 
ics terms, a point traveling through space 
creates a line by extending one point alter 
another. Extending a string through space, 
essentially lay r,g one s: - -net next to another, 
would then create a sheet. This, of course, 
is only in classical terms. When viewed in 
quantum-mechanical terms, the picture 
starts to get a little fuzzy. 

^Corresponding to the 

deuteron is the antideuteron. 

Corresponding to 

the speck of dust there 

• ' is the speck of 

antidust. And corresponding 

to the frog, 

there is an antifrog.^ 

Gell-Mann: We -ii-.ivt; a very good guess now, 
which is based on three assumptions (one 
of which seemed highly implausible) origi- 
nally put forward in a very general way by 
Andrei Sakharov, the Soviel physicist and 
weapons designer who laic devoted him- 
self to human rights and won the Nobel 
Peace Prize. In the late Sixties Sakharov pro- 
posed that the early universe was not in 
[hemodynamic equilibrium, that asymme- 
try between, matter and antimatter is a 
somewhat more general phenomenon than 
experimental discoveries ■■.■vouid so far have 
indicated, and that the proton is not stable 
but can decay [and they seem to, slowly]. If 
all ol these hypotheses are true, then one 
could have a symmetry between matter and 
antimatter at-an early moment in the expan- 
sion of the universe, followed by a process 
. in which a huge asymmetry was produced, 
resulting in virtually everything we now see. 
The choice of matter or antimatter would de- 
pend on the sign of a certain parameter that 
so far has not been measured. Sakharov's 
idea didn't receive very much attention until 
Ihe .early Seventies. It was then found that 

the simplest examples of quantum unified 
dynamics necessarily implied proton decay. 
Consequently, Sakharov'-? : oea moved from 
a very far-out speculation to a proposition 
squarely in the mainstream of particle phys- 
ics. Many then worked on refining Sakhar- 
ov's arguments and doing the calculations 
more carefully, so that one can now make a 
crude prediction of the ratio of neutrons and 
protonsto photons in the universe. That ratio 
is something like 10 - ,0 or 10 B . Many theo- 
rists have taken Ihe success of this predic- 
tion as an indication that there is some kind 
of quantum unified dynamics with proton 
decay and that we do have an explanation 
for the preponderance of matter, 
Omni: What might an antiorganism look like? 
Gell-Mann: The laws of physics are very 
nearly symmetrical between matter and an- 
timatter. Now, that means that for every ob- 
ject made of matter there is a corresponding 
object, with almost the same properties, 
made of antimatter. So correspondingto the 
proton is the antiproton, having the same 
mass, exactly opposite electric charge, and ■ 
opposite magnetic moment. Corresponding 
to the deuteron is the antideuteron: corre- 
sponding to-a speck of dust is a speck of 
antidust; and corresponding to a frog there 
is an antifrog. The antideuterons have been 
produced in the laboratory, but nobody has 
gone to the. trouble or expense of trying to 
make the macroscopic things, like antifrogsl 
People know ihat if you put matter and anti- 
matter together, you get annihilation into 
photons and so forth. This process can be 
more or less violent depending on the cir- 
cumstances, but it is clearly not easy to con- 
tain anlimatter, even if you succeed in pro- 
ducing it in a world consisting mainly of 

Omni: Are particle reactions reversible? 
Gell-Mann: If a reaction actually happens, 
one can run the reaction backward and still 
have it happen. Also, one can transpose any 
particle from one side of the reaction to the 
other, the way one can transpose a mathe- 
matical quantity from one side of an equa- 
tion to another. Just as one has to change 
the sign of that mathematical quantity when 
one transposes it from one side to the other, 
so one has to turn the particle into its anti- 
particle when one transposes particles in a 
reaction. The resuifng -oaction may not be 
energetically possible, in which case it can 
occur only "virtually," but virtual processes 
are very important in quantum mechanics. 
A virlual process can happen over a short 
.time, but then it has to unhappen. It can hap- 
pen because in quantum mechanics, en- 
ergy and time are complementary variables, 
like momentum and distance. And this 
means that when an uncertainty in energy is 
small there is a large uncertainty in time, and 
when there is a small uncertainty in time there 
is a large uncertainty in energy. This means 
that over a short time, energy is very uncer- 
tain, and one can have nonconservation of 

Omni: So if these particle reactions are re- 
versible, how does this relate to time's sup- 
posed inability to go backward? 

Gell-Mann: That's a difficult question. The 
microscopic laws of particle physics are 
nearly symmetrical with respect to time re- 
versal. When one reverses time, simulta- 
neously changing left into right and particles 
into anliparticles, there's complete symme- 
try between past and future time. Neverthe- 
less, we see a very strong asymmetry in Ihe 
world around us. We see the egg turning 
into a scrambled egg, but we don't see the 
scrambled egg turning back into ihe egg. 
This is a very serious and subtle question. 

I came to my own conclusions about this 
around twenty years ago, but I never pub- 
lished my results. I concluded that it was the 
conditions that applied in the beginning of 
the universe that make the macroscopic 
' world asymmetrical between past and fu- 
ture. One needs not only the equations of 
elementary particles to explain science but 
also the condition of the universe fifteen bil- 
lion years ago, when it was a tiny, expanding 
hot ball. I convinced myself tha! the condi- 
tions in the early state of the universe were 
enough to explain all the distinctions we see 
between past and future. But it is a subtle 
question to work out how that cosmological 
asymmetry results in things like the second 
law of thermodynamics and gives us univer- 
sal irreversibility, the so-called arrow of time. 
Omni: Are your insights always the result of 
well-ordered logic? 

Gell-Mann: It is of course crucial to the cre- 
ative process to get the mind out of a rut. 
The rut could be described as an attach- 
ment to some preconceived idea that is un- 
necessary, although widely received. Even 
when someone suggests an excellent new 
idea, it may, for particular historical reasons, 
be accompanied by other ideas that are un- 
necessary and wrong. The purification of Ihe 
new idea from these accompanying wrong 
notions is very important. 
In theoretical physics we use very simple 
- tools: pencil and paper, eraser, chair, and 
table. More important than any of these is 
the wastebasket. Almost every idea that oc- 
curs to a theoretical physicist is wrong. And 
it can be wrong on various grounds. The 
simplest grounds for being wrong have to 
do with logical inconsistencies. Once the 
idea or theory is logically consistent, there is 
also the question of whether it agrees with a 
system of well-established observations. The 
theory has to agree with itself, and it has to 
agree with nature. Those are the require- 
ments, and most theoretical ideas don't meet 
them. So we crumple up most of our pages 
of scribbles and throw them away. 
Omni: How did your colleagues react initially 
to your quark speculations? 
Gell-Mann: Virtually all of them thought that 
I'd gone bananas. In the fall of 1963 I called 
Viki Weisskopf, who had been my Ph.D. ad- 
viser when I was a graduate student at MIT 
and who had become the director of CERN,- 
to talk about the plans for constructing new 
accelerators.. At one point I said, "By the way, 
I have an idea how to explain all the patterns 
of the strongly interaciing particles if they're 
made of three kinds of fundamental objects, 
one with a charge of plus two thirds and the 
94 OMNI 

other two with charges of minus one third." 
He said, "Oh, come on, Murray, this is a 
transatlantic call; it's costing money. Let's not 
pursue this kind of foolishness." That was 
fairly typical of reactions at thai time. 
Omni: Some people have described quarks 
as mathematical fiction. 
Gell-Mann: I used to describe this theory of 
confined quarks modestly by saying that they 
were mathematical, meaning simply that they 
couldn't free themselves to be seen individ- 
ually, bull didn't say that they were fictitious. 
Many people mistook my meaning and 
thought that I was saying that I didn't believe 
in the quarks, which is, of course, not true. 
What I meant was simply that they would be 
permanently confined within the hadron. I 
didn't want to get into an argument with phi- 
losophers who would say, "Well, if they can 
never get out, then how do you know they're 
real?" I even have a prescription ordering 
me not to argue with philosophers. It was 
given to me by a doctor who attended one 
of my exlension courses at UCLA. 

6/n theoretical 
physics we use simple tools: 

pencil, paper, 

eraser, chair, and table. More 

important than 

these is the wastebasket. Almost 

any idea that 
occurs to a physicist is wrong5 

Omni: If physicists find that these particles 
are explained by some grand unified 
scheme, how then can we relate quarks to 
such things as the creation of art? 
Gell-Mann: Quarks do not have anything to 
do with art .directly. Fake connections, such 
as those made by people who take seriously 
the relation of my Eightfold Way to the 
Buddhist Eightfold Way, have to be dissi- 
pated. It somehow must be explained to 
those people that it's all a joke. If one says, 
■however, that scientific and artistic activity 
have a lot ifl common, that is an entirely dif- 
ferent matter. They are similar noble activi- 
ties of the human spirit. 
Omni: Because these fundamental particles 
make up what we call matter, shouldn't they 
be the same things that make up matter in 
all its different forms, including artists? 
Gell-Mann: Of course, but lhal connection is 
remote. The laws of the elementary particles 
and of the universe underlie all of science, 
including all of physics, astronomy, chemis- 
try, geology, biology, psychology, and in a 
sense even social science. The ends of the 
chain are so far removed from each other 
lhai building the bridges necessary to ex- 
plain human society, say, in terms of ele- 

mentary particles is a practically hopeless 
task. So we study the world at many different 
levels and work on building bridges be- 
tween neighboring levels. One can, in prin- 
ciple, reduce social science to individual 
psychology; reduce individual psychology 
to biology; reduce biology io chemistry: re- 
duce chemistry to physics; and then reduce 
physics io elementary particle and cosmo- 
logical physics. All these bridges are under 
construction, and many of them will be un- 
der construction for an enormously long time. 
This means that one cannot draw any direct 
conclusions from elementary-particle phys- 
ics about life or about people. That's what is 
misunderstood. They're not directly related. 
Some young women in Aspen, for example, 
are always talking about energy They say, 
"Oh, you study energy. Well, you musl know 
about the energy of human relationships." 
That's baloney. That's misusing a metaphor. 
Omni: What is your feeling about areas thai 
are often labeled irrational? 
Gell-Mann: There are a lot of mental proc- 
esses out of awareness different from ra- 
tional thought processes. I think this is the 
most important part of human psychology. 
But just because one is interested in uncon- 
scious mental processes or the irrational, one 
doesn't have io accept the word of every 
Tom, Dick, Sigmund, or Carl about how they 
function. Although they had hold of a lot of 
truths, Freud and Jung were rather unscien- 
tific in their approaches. Our understanding 
of the irrational aspect of human behavior 
would be enhanced if the unconscious 
processes were studied scientifically. 
Omni: Is there an irrational factor within par- 
ticle physics? 

Gell-Mann: The science isn't irrational; the 
scientists are. Why do I not publish some- 
thing until a year or a year and a half has 
passed? Why do I not see obvious things 
that I should see? Why didn't I invent charm, 
or believe it, in 1964? If I had, it would have 
solved all our problems much sooner. There 
is a lot of irrationality in our work. 
Omni: Is there no irrationality within the 
makeup of matter? 

Gell-Mann: No. The term irrationality, in any 
case, is usually applied to sentient crea- 
tures. I believe the laws of nature are abso- 
lutely straightforward and coherent; there are 
no special interventions made by some kind 
of divinity as conceived by certain theists. 
Omni: If we find irrationality in human char- 
acter, might it not stem from the fundamental 
makeup of the atom? 

Gell-Mann: That seems to be an exlraordi- 
narily naive question! As I said, there are 
many bridges to cross between elementary 
particles and human beings. Just because 
the fundamental physical laws are simple 
and straightforward doesn't mean that things . 
based on them can't have all sorts of com- 
plications. Some of ihe most fascinating parts 
of conlemporary science involve the inves- 
tigation of how complex structures can arise 
from simple elements or simple underlying 
laws. Also, complexity itself seems to have 
laws of its own. 
Omni: You've said simplicity will lie in the 

1km Avlsst 


How do you do it ? 

economy of principle. 

Gell-Mann: Thai was in particle physics. 1 
meant thai there are many apparently fun- 
damental objects in today's theory, and we 
conjecture that even in our future theory there 
will be an enormous list of haplons, maybe 
even an infinite list, as in supers! ring theory. 
How, then, can we say that nature is simple? 
It is all right as long as the haplons turn out 
to be components of a single superfield. in 
which the parts all fit together harmoniously 
in an elegant, simple mathematical theory. 
Omni: You raised the notion that what may 
be needed in physics is a completely new 
way of looking at things by some brilliant 
young physicist. 

Gell-Mann: It coutd well be thai we're bark- 
ing up the wrong tree with our present the- 
ories and that some brilliant young person 
will have to look at what we're doing and say, 
"No, no, you're stating the problem all wrong. 
If you state the problem another way and get 
rid of all these misconceptions, then it be- 
comes easy to see that what is going on is 
the following." Young theorists do not have 
so much of a vested interest in present-day 
theory and are perfectly willing to throw out 
parts that seem unnecessary. Also, young 
people have fewer responsibilities and 
therefore more leisure to think. 

When I was young. I had no particular 
vested interest in certain ideas. For exam- 
ple, I was perfectly willing to throw out the 
notion thai particles resembling the proton 
must have rial:- nigral sctcpic spin like the 
proton. Likewise I had very few commit- 
ments on my time. I was able to work when- 
ever I wanted. It is not only the time spent 
actually sitting at one's desk that matters but 
what the preconscious mind is mulling over 
when one is not at one's desk. As Yuval 
Ne'eman told me, "What counts is whether 
when you wake up in the middle of [he night 
it's because you've had an idea in physics, 
or because you've had an idea of hpw to 
raise money for the university, or because 
you've had an idea about some vote in Par- 
liament." Is your preconscious cooking 
physics or is it cooking, for example, 
MacArthur Foundation business? 
Omni: Why does it seem that physicists can 
always get money to build an accelerator? 
Gell-Manh: Shhhhhhh I Don't tell anyone. Ac- 
tually, I like to think that there is something 
about the character of our subject lhat ap- 
peals to decision makers. Perhaps they 
sense, even if they don't understand it, the 
basic position occupied by our work. CO 




- page 


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the pleasure domes of Chalise iar below. 
Stroboscopic reflections winked from her 
pupils. Psi tendrils quivered as they probed 
the psychic ether. 

Overhead, night deepened. I closed my 
eyes. Specters rose from hippocampal 
graves, disturbed by circadian winds. They 
thought the dream-time was close. They 
couldn't frighten me now, not while I was 
awake. Ghosts could frighten only sleeping 
children. Terror came only in the dreams. I 
didn't sleep at night anymore. Demons were 
easier to take in the light of day. 

I snapped a mnemone stick and sucked 
its vapors deep into my lungs. Euphoria 
burned in my mind. 

I gol up and stood behind Risa. She con- 
tinued to peer out the window, crouching on 
all fours. I kissed the back of her legs, nuz- 
zling soft fur with my lips. I moved upward, 
rubbing my cheek against her rump. She re- 
mained tense, caught up in hunt. 

I knelt behind her. cupping fur-covered 
breasts in my hands, and entered her. Mu- 
cosal surfaces contained more induction 
neurons than cutaneous ones, since they 
were no more than modified tactile recep- 
tors. Mucosal contact produced the best 
pathic gestalt. I lay my head between her 
shoulders and joined the hunt. 

Myriad thoughts swirled through the ether, 
like a million gleaming threads watting in the 
wind. We moved among them, watching, lis- 
tening, sniffing each in turn. Then we found 
the scent for which we searched, We 
crouched low to the ground, the fur bristled 
along our back, and ourtail was held upright 
with only the tip twitching back and forth. We 
followed the mental scent back io its source, 
slowly and cautiously, so as not to spook our 
quarry. We'd hunted thus many times. Fear 
was easy to find and easier to foster. The 
simple, superstitious tribesmen on Mars had 
been helpless to resist our sophistication. We 
terrorized their dream-time; their chiefs and 
medicinemen had prophetic visions of doom 
that demoralized them, so they were help- 
less when our combrid troops attacked. But 
now Risa and I hunted for ourselves. 

We had been together for five years: four 
in the Combrid Corps as an LRT team on 
Mars and one as a freelance path team. 
Technically, we had deserted from the Corps 
when the Martian Rebellion collapsed; we 
hadn't bothered to muster out. A discharge 
from the Corps included debriefing and de- 
militarization. The Lord Generals didn't want 
civilians running around with full military 
hardware or software: they tended to be- 
come mercenaries in future rebellions. Bui 
the Lord Generals didn't want to pay idle sol- 
diers either. Their solution was simple: D and 
D — debre and demil. Debre wasn't bad; 
psychesurgeons wiped out both Corps hyp- and all'memories laid down since 
conscription. Demil was more unpleasant; 
cybersurgeons ripped out any removable 
hardware and snipped through muscle and 


nerve tissue to bring a combrid down to 
standard terran. Then cosmesurgeons gave 
you back your original appearance— ap- 
proximately. But Risa's and my military tis- 
sue was mostly gray matter. On the outside, 
save her almost normal mane. Risa looked 
like an ordinary sphinx, I appeared to be 
standard terran, Only our insides were dif- 
ferent, primarily our brains. So D and D for 
us meant a little neurosurgery to 'disrupt 
classified synapses. Then a spot in a vege- 
1 3b!e patch. No thanks. Even being a hunted 
fugitive was better than that. 

Besides, it was kind of fun to match wits 
with the vice varks. We'd been afraid the 
spooks of Corps Intelligence would come 
after us, especially Kaly. Spooks made me 
nervous. They were chameleons. They had 
plastic tissue and could change both shape 
and appearance a: ■-■ v i I . . becoming any other 
hybrid or individual they wanted, The per- 
fect disguise. Quite useful when you wanted 
to infiltrate the enemy. But what made them 
even more dangerous esoec:a : .ly from a path 

^Protons danced 

on my body like St. 

Elmo's fire. I 

, thrashed, trying to put 

out the fiame. 

Risa pinned me down and 

began licking 

me with her tongue.^ 1 

team's viewpoint, was that they also had in- 
credible control over their thoughts. Whena 
spook assumed a cover, he organized his 
mind into the identity of the cover, with a 
complete set of memories. His own psyche 
was buried so deep and linked so tightly with 
limbic nuclei, he would die before any incon- 
gruous thoughts could give him away. Even 
a path team could be tooled by a spook. 

But in the year we had been on our own, 
we'd yet to encounter a chameleon — just 
dim-witted vice varks. Hardly the match of a 
trained Long Range Terror learn, a .pair of 
fear hunters late of the First Psyche Division. 
Risa was the ernpath; she peeped minds to 
discover what primal terrors lurked in their 
dream-time. I was the telepath who sent 
those hippocampal fears back to the cere- 
bral cortex and magnified them. It's quite 
demoralizing to be tormented by the one 
thing you fear most, be that ghosts, goblins, 
■ snakes, rats, fire, wind, or whatnot. Mere il- 
lusion? Maybe so. But the demons I con- 
jured were more terrifying than if they had 
been real. They evoked instinctive fear that 
a rational mind was helpless to defend 
against, simply because the fears them- 
selves were irrational. I only wished I was not 

cursed to have to remember all the fears 

But Risa could seek out other leelings. And 
I could create other illusions besides fear. 

Her flanks began quivering beneath me. 
Something other nan s;a- light gleamed in 
her eyes. We had located our quarry. He was 
quite near and was unsuspecting. We could 
surprise him. 

We hunted close to home tonight. 

The door to our suite, the Nyssa, opened 
into a small foyer, across which was a liftube. 
We stepped in and dropped slowly, holding 
hands to keep from getting separated. Our 
prey was still in his room. We followed his 
chanting thoughts, entered his mind, and 
examined his memories. 

Several floors down, we switched to the 
uptube, although no living eyes saw this. Our 
images still drifted down. 

Those same living eyes saw a child 
dressed in a blue satin gown floating up the 
other tube, carrying a cat in its arms. Only 
Risa and I knew otherwise. 

The child stepped out of the liftube a! the 
two hundred forty-ninth level, and into the 
foyer of the Ophir Suite, which was directly 
opposite the Nyssa Suite. It — the child's sex 
was not apparent— touched a finger to the 
annunciator. A few seconds later, the door 
dilated open. The child stepped through. 
Before the door closed, Risa and I also en- 
tered, darting through as quick as specters, 
unseen by living eyes. 

An Entropist monk sat in lotus on the floor. 
facing the door. He stopped chanting. He 
wore only the lavender robes of his order. 
His shaven skull gleamed with oil; his eyes 
shone with their own green fire. Though he 
had taken personal vows of poverty, this 
monk was hardly destitute. He was a money 
courier. The Entropic Church financed most 
of the rebellions against good old Mother 
Earth. This monk was delivering a fortune to 
one of those rebellions. He was to make de- 
livery later tonight, after his amusement. 

The child bowed low. The white cat leapt 
out of its arms and began to prowl about. 
"You desire comfort tonight, Brother Monk?" 
il asked formally. 

The monk nodded his head. 

The child touched ils fingers to opposite 
shoulders. The gown slipped into a. pile at 
its feet. It stepped out, placing one hand on 
its hip and the other over its head with index 
finger pointed down, and it spun about 
slowly. It seemed Io be an ordinary human 
child of about ten years of age, a little long' 
of leg and somewhat potbellied. Its features 
were androgynous: upturned button of a 
. nose, rosy cheeks, eyes sapphire blue, short 
curls of flaxen hair, 

It completed its spin and faced the monk, 
then advanced closer, stopping a tew cen- 
timeters from the monk's crossed legs. It 
spread its knees and thrust its pelvis out. A 
tiny penis dangled there. Then penis and 
scrotum retracted, involuting into immature 
female genitalia: hairless mound, undevel- 
oped labia, rudimentary clitoris. 

A figment of my imagination? Hardly, An 

illusion, yes. Bui the image was based on 
reality. The child was a pedimorph: a child 
surrogate hybridized into a hermaphroditic 
creature whose development was arrested 
in preadolescence. It could have been fifty 
years old or fifteen; its physiologic age would 
always remain prepubescent. Pedimorphs 
were indentured by their parents to the Guild 
for twenty years. After- that they could buy 
out their contract and be brought back to 
standard terran — to normal endocrine de- 
velopment—if they had saved enough 
money. Most didn't. Most spenf their entire 
lives as pedis. Which usually wasn't all that 
long — the suicide rate was quite high. 

The pedi stood motionless. A pink tongue 
darted out to wet iis lips. 'Am I acceptable, 
' Brother Monk?" 

"Quite so," the monk answered. "Begin." 

The monk pulled off his own robe, al- 
though he imagined the pedimorph did it. 
The pedi stood behind him, massaging taut 
shoulder muscles. The ritual was beginning 
to disgust me. After all, my imagination was 
creating the images in the monk's mind. 
Pedis were an acquired taste. But this illu- 
sion was necessary. 

Risa left and eniered the bedroom. A va- 
lise of money was suspended in midair within 
an alarm beam. She plucked it from the 
beam. A ruby on the monk's finger began 
flashing. He did not notice. The pedi now 
stood in front of him, with its ankles caught 
between the monk's crossed legs. The 
monk's face was pressing into its groin. 

Risa returned from the other room carry- 
ing the valise. She waited by the door. 

Time lor us to leave. 

The monk's hands cupped the pedi's 
slender buttocks. His fingernails cut deep 
into tender flesh. The pedi screamed in pain. 

Suddenly, I was angry. Rage narrowed my 
vision into a blurred tunnel. My reaction dis- 
turbed me. I'd seen worse in other minds. 
Why should this scenario bother me? 

The pedi's, hands encircled the monk's 
neck. Thumbs gouged deep into carotid ar- 
teries, then flattened tracheal rings. The 
monk's eyes bulged; his lips turned blue. 
Spittle drooled down his tongue. He did not 
resist. This was still all part of the ritual. 

He lost consciousness. 

I should have relaxed the spasms in his 
neck now and released his diaphragm from 
its paralysis. But my rage was too strong. 
The pedi continued to squeeze. 

I had the overwhelming urge to strangle 
the monk. I wanted him dead. A rational is- 
land in my mind was puzzled. I had never 
killed before, even in the war. Why now? 

Anger burned even hotter. Now my fin- 
gers did the squeezing. I closed my eyes. 

A voice whispered in my.ear. Soft lips nuz- 
zled my cheek. Strong arms wrapped 
around me. Supple fingers kneaded my 
flesh. A warm body pressed against mine. 

The monk's mind was almosf dead. But 
there was serenity instead of panic, as 
though death were preferable to life. Dreams 
unwound like a raveling tapestry — scenes 
of war: combrids going into battle against a 
dozen different kinds of hybrids, as seen 

100 OMNI 

through rebel eyes: making love to a dozen 
different kinds oi partners -hen cutting each 
lover's throat; sticking knives into the backs 
of sentries looking the other way, leaving 
bombs behind. 

Risa's cool thoughts flowed over my fire, 
extinguishing the flame. I opened my eyes. 

I stood before the monk. My hands stran- 
gled him. I lef go. His head slumped for- 
ward, his body remained erect, lodked up- 
right by his lotus posture. Dreams unraveled, 
weaving back together. I sensed disap- 
pointment, Risa relaxed her embrace. She 
picked up the valise and started toward the 
door, The monk's mind lapesfry faded. But 
a melting image lingered to disturb me; a 
doll's face with its features twisted into rage, 
its teeth bared, lips snarling. 

I stumbled out the door after Risa. 

We were safe in our suiie. 

When the monk recovered, he would not 
report the theft of his money— that would di- 
rect suspicion toward him. He would instead 

<mRisa was an 
empath — she peeped minds 

to discover 

what primal terrors lurked in 

their dream-time. 

I was the telepath who 

sent those tears 

back to the cerebral cortex.^ 

try to locale a certain pedimorph himself. His 
search would prove futile since this pedi did 
not exist except in memory, 

I sat near the window, staring out at the 
glistening domes of Chalise. Risa padded 
over to join me, rubbing against my side. 
Static sparked between us. A rough tongue 
licked my neck. I let her pull me over to the 
bed. She climbed on top and began undu- 
lating slowly Her mane lay flat, no fimbriae 
quivered. No stray dreams disturbed our 
lovemaking. I blanked my mind, concentrat- 
ing only on delicious friction. 

Later, as I held Risa close to me, troubled 
Ihought came back. I remembered a dis- 
solving image. 

Did you notice anything uni isual about the 
monk? I asked. 

The memories were a little strange, tor a 
religious person. He seems to have had an 
interesting lite. There was an area I couldn't 
probe. Her thoughts resonated. I touched her 
throat.. She purred. Probably church se- 
crets. Rituals. Memories I would have to hill 
to extract. Such protected zones are com- 
mon among monks. 

Didn't Hit! also have such an area? 

■She nodded involuntarily. He was a smug- 

gler and a gunrunner It's to be expected he 
would pay a psychesuigeon to veal up a few 

It seems odd that two in a row should be 

A coincidence. 

She seemed so sure of herself. I let it go. 
I trusted her ability. There was something 
peculiar about our encounter with the monk. 
I wonder why I got so angry? 

Her thoughts were silent. 

A realization struck. 

Why did t get angry? You know, don't you? 

She waited before answering. / know, 

What is it? Why? 

An unconscious memory bothered you. 

What kind of memory? A memory of what? 

That is hidden from even me. 

You won't tell me? 

I don't know. 

She was not quite convincing. 

But what could I do? I couldn't" see into my 
own head, much less into hers. Okay. As long 
as it doesn't matter. 

Not to me. 

She sought me again, as though in proof. 

Demons haunted my dream-time. 

I was paralyzed and could not move a 
muscle. Rat teeth nipped flesh, gnawing my 
fingers away. Snakes slithered around my 
neck, gradually tightening their coils, while 
fanged faces watched me, tasting my fear 
with cloven tongues. Birds also worried about 
my face, pecking at my unblinking eyes. Bats 
fluttered about, then landed, sinking sharp 
teeth and lapping up the free-flowing blood. 
Flies buzzed lazily, depositing yellow spawn 
in my wounds that soon hatched info wrig- 
gling maggots. Then I heard water flowing. 
Cool wetness touched my skin. The water 
had climbed higher and higher, until it lapped 
about my neck. For some reason, I did not 
float. And I was still paralyzed. The water 
rose — over my mouth, over my nose, then 
over my eyes. I held my breath until it seemed 
my lungs would burst. I could hold it no 
longer. Bubbles streamed out my nostrils. I 
gasped for air; water filled my lungs instead. 
I tried to scream. Images darted out of my 
mouth and floated away. 

A radioactive doll glowed in the darkness, 
luminescent tears dripping from its eyes. 

I woke with sweat cooling on my skin. Risa 
sat up in bed beside me, holding her head 
between her hands. 

"I was sending." 

She nodded. "You've given me quite a 
headache. Most of the other hotel guests 
have had bad dreams, not to mention half of 
the rest of Chalise. In a few days, after cas- 
ual conversations, they'll begin to realize they 
all had the same nightmare." 

"Then varks will start snooping around. 
Wed best move on." 

"No, not yet." I missed the cunning in her 
voice. "We have time for one more. " 

"You've found someone?" 

"Yes. She looks very interesting. Just your 
type. We'll sting her tonight." 

"You're sure there's enough time?" 

"Of course. I've searched all of Chalise. 



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No one is suspicious yet. I can't resist this 
one. You'll enjoy it. She's a demilled veteran 
of the Corps." 

I lay back and closed my eyes. Yes, this 
next sting would be enjoyable. We veterans 
all had something in common; we'd commit- 
ted some atrocity — some capital offense — 
that had gotten us sentenced to the Foreign 
Legions instead of death. Demilled veterans 
were given back their pasts. That was the 
law. Since I was an outlaw, I didn't have my 
past. But I still held the naive hope thai I 
would find some common theme in the 
backgrounds ol other combat hybrids that 
would enable me to guess my own. 

I dozed oif. A doll's face cycled out of its 
hippocampal tomb. 

Ganymede's artificial day had faded. The 
reality of night returned. Risa stood before 
the window. I followed her gaze; she watched 
white-hot plasma spewing from the fusion 
fountain of a nightclub perched below us on 
the hm of Chalise crater. 

Another hunt began. 

We strolled the streets of Chalise. Risa and 
I. If any cameras recorded our passage, the 
captured images would show only a true hu- 
man and a sphinx walking together. Not so 
unusual by today's standards. Hardware was 
difficult to fool. We'd have had lo be cha- 
meleons to fool cameras. Not so software. 
The living eyes that saw us "saw" two mer- 
chant sailors on shore leave. We were two 
among many, for Chalise was a maritime city 
Two sailors were even less likely to be re- 
membered than a sphinx and a standard 
human. We appeared to be quite ordinary 
sailors; two meters tall; naked save our capes 
and the sonic jewelry that decoraied fin- 
gers, toes, noses, and ears; skin as black as 
obsidian and shining with protective mon- 
omer; supple fingers and toes equipped with 
tree-frog suction cups; nictitating mem- 
branes covered our eyes, other sphincters 
protected nostrils and ear canals; bald skulls 
wifh scalps that were convoluted into ridges 
by subcutaneous cyberwires. Two common 
cybernetic hybrid sailors. Nothing al all to 
attract attention. 

I was pleased with my attention to detail. 
You couldn't be too careful in our line of work. 

We passed all the usual diversions found 
on the Outer Moons; peptide parlors, simu- 
lacrum arenas, :so;cpewesi : ing, mnemone 
dens, deformity brokers, and mind casinos. 
Pedimorphs leered at us from open door- 
ways, tempting us with their tongues. We 
showed polite interest, as sailors would, bul 
declined, J concealed the revulsion I felt. 

We slowly made our way to the ice cliffs 
that lined the crater wall. A thousand meters 
above the crater 1 loo r, a permaplastic dome 
covered the wreckage of an ancient fuship. 
It had crashed there ages ago, before nu- 
clear energy was supplanied by radiacrys- 
tals and gravsails. But the old fusion thrusler 
still throbbed with life. Plasma spewed into 
space from the old jets, forming a thermonu- 
clear fountain that threw bright tendrils a 
hundred clicks out, all leading back to a 
nightclub called Critical Mass. 

"You think of something! It was your idea to zip hack a few million centuries and wipe out the mosquito at its source." 

Tonight's quarry awaited us there. 

We entered Critical Mass. A hostess 
greeted us and pinned a radiation badge on 
our capes. I smiled at this touch of realism. 
She showed us to a table. A transparent 
dance floor formed a disc pierced through 
its center by the thruster chamber. Tables 
were placed along the periphery. A dim, blue 
glow emanated through the walls of the 
magnetic bottle. A low throb beat from each 
solid surface. Audiocrystals hung overhead. 
Tendrils of optical music exuded from their 
facets to swirl in midair over the dance floor, 
before slowly drifting down into tangles 
among the dancers. 

Risa smiled. To other eyes, a sailor's lips 
■ curled upward. To my eyes, furred lips sep- 
arated to reveal sharp, white teeth. Music 
glinted from their points. Her eyes gleamed. 
Silver fimbriae quivered about her head. 

"Let's dance," Risa said-. 

"Isshe still here?" 

"Lei's dance." She touched my hand with 
her finger, moving the tip in a circular motion. 
Induction neurons set up their transcutane- 
ous field between us. A tingle ran up my arm, 
an image darted into my mind; an old lion- 
ess watched two young lions courting. Re- 
sentment smoldered in her eyes. She bared 
toothless gums in a grimace of hate. 

I picked up Risa's hand and led her out to 
the dance floor. We danced like sailors: with ■ 
wild abandon. Yet we were also graceful and 
elegant, and we made leaping pirouettes that 
took us almost to the ceiling. 

When we relumed to our table, someone 
was waiting there. Her face was obscured 
by shadow. A finger wearing a ring set with 
a huge, singing diamond tapped nervously. 

"I admired your dancing," she said, low- 
ering her eyes briefly in false shyness. "I 
wonder if I might speak to you for a moment. 
If it's no bother . . ," 

"Certainly." I said. 

"No bother at all." Risa giggled. 

We both sat down. 

I saw her clearly now. She was almost 
beautiful. The cosmetic surgeons had done 
a good job. There were a few tiny scars 
around her eyes and nostrils where sphinc- 
ters had been removed. Hardly noticeable, 
unless you knew where to look. I knew there 
could be other scars through which hard- 
ware had been salvaged, but they were 
concealed by her gown. Full breasts pushed 
out against a gold-trimmed bodice. A neck- 
lace of singing pearls rested on them. Her 
hair was straw-colored and cut as short as 
wheat stubble but was thick enough to hide 
the white lines where cyberwires once had 
been. Her eyes were the green of jade. 

I placed my hand on Risa's. An electric 
tingle tickled my palm; we entered her mind. 

"What do you want to talk about, Lady Jo- 
nan?" She was once again a Lady from Old ■ 
Earth, no longer a lance corporal. 

"How do you know my name?" She looked 
at me, afraid for an instant. The face she saw 
was open, pleasant, laughing. She relaxed. 
"If you know my name, then you know my 
story as well. You know what I want you to 
tell me." She smiled. A waiter arrived with a 


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vase of mnemone tubes and a glass of Earth 
wine. "I took the liberty of ordering for us. I 
hope I got it right." She reached for the glass 
and sipped its wine, rolling the liquid around 
her mouth with her tongue. 

Risa and I snapped open mnemone tubes 
and inhaled the vapors into our lungs. 

"I want you to tell me about the blue 
empty," the Lady said. ' ! lf that wouldn't be 
too much trouble. I'll pay you for your time." 
She drank down the wine in one long gulp. 
A drop ran down her chin. "My yacht is 
moored at the spaceport." She smiled slyly. 
"We could be more comfortable there. I think 
it's important to be comforlable when telling 
stories, don't you? Shall we go?" 

I nodded. Telling stories of the blue empty 
was the code phrase used by sailing group- 
ies to sailors when they meant they wished 
to purchase our favors. But the Lady's 
schemes went beyond the usual. I could 
hardly wait. Risa had been right. 

Three bodies sprawled on a wombskin 
pad in the main cabin of a blue space racer: 
Lady Johan and her two new sailors. All were 
naked. Two sailors lay on their backs, head 
to head. Lady Johan sat near them, holding 
a small vial between thumb and forefinger. 
She dipped her tongue into the vial, then 
leaned over a sailor's face, lowering her pro- 
truding tongue until it touched his eye. Blue 
peptide flowed across his cornea. She re- 
peated the ritual with the other eye. Then 
with the other sailor. The vial contained a 
mixture of endocaine and endrogen — speed 
and sexsteroid. Soon bodies mingled into a 
confused mass of torsos and limbs. A pep- 
tide frenzy slowly built. Flesh slapped against 
flesh. Sweat shone from skin. Breath whis- 
tled out of nostrils. Low moans escaped 
clenched teeth. 

Risa finished plundering the- yacht — a 
meager haul for a member of the aristoc- 
racy; a few mediocre jewels, a little cash, 
two uninteresting objets d'art. But that was 
all right. I was more interested in the mind of 
this particular mark than in her loot. We had 
explored her mind thoroughly. 

She had been a young Lady of one of the 
old families on Earth, amusing herself with 
the usual diversions. While under the influ- 
ence of too-much endocaine, she had caught 
her lover with another. In a fit of jealousy (over 
not having been invited to share her lover's 
lover), she grabbed an antique sword from 
the wall and. decapitated them both. That 
had been her ticket to the Foreign Legions. 
She had become a cyrine. While in the 
Corps, she found another lover — a sailor. 
Their ship took a hit and depressurized. She 
lived, he died. That explained the next part 
of her ritual. The Lady had a unique per- 
version. She had set her ship's computer to 
automatically blow open the main airlock at 
a preprogrammed time. That time was right 
now. (Of course Risa reset the computer so 
the lock would.not open unexpectedly. Mind 
reading has certain advantages.) 

We were ready to leave, so we pulled on 
space coveralls and attached 0^ bubbles 
over our heads. We entered the airlock and 
106 OMNI 

closed the inner door. The Lady must not be 
disappointed. Otherwise she might inform 
the varks. So I let the hatch blow in my imag- 
ination; warm air suddenly rushed out of the 
cabin, replaced by thin wisps of hydrocar- 
bon at two hundred below. The sailors re- 
acted instinctively; one ran for an emer- 
gency sealing kit while the other placed his 
lips over the Lady's mouth and nose. Their 
respirations synchronized; they exchanged 
breaths. The sailor had oxygen stored within 
brown adipose— a little diffused back into 
his lungs and his exhaled breath — enough 
to keep the Lady alive, if not conscious, 

The airlock cycled, and the outer door di- 
lated. Risa and I stood in near vacuum, pro- 
tected by space coveralls and breathing re- 
catalyzed oxygen. The inner door remained 
sealed, the cabin warm and pressurized. 
Except in the Lady's mind. 

She sank into a pseudohypoxic coma. 
Risa turned to face me. I leaned toward her 
until our O a bubbles fused. Our lips touched; 
our tongues slipped past themselves. 

6/ was paralyzed. 

Rat teeth nipped flesh. 

Snakes slithered 

around my neck, tightening 

their coils, while 

fanged faces watched 

me, tasting my 

fear with cloven tongues.^ 

Beyond the inner door, a mind tapestry 
raveled. Images unwound from the fabric of 
memory: The Lady playing her endless rit- 
ual, seeking something lost to the blue empty, 
all recapitulations of when her lost lover had 
not been saved by her because she chose 
to flee instead of staying to help him; scenes 
of war, staccato glimpses of a sword flash- 
ing an arc through the air, biting through 
muscle and cartilage, with blood spurting 
high. Then I saw another pattern hidden 
within the weave of the other. Ghost dreams 
came back to 'haunt me: An alphalash swings 
its terrible arc, a doll strangles a naked monk. 
Memory threads stopped unwinding, their 
strands held by a locked weave whose pat- 
tern was amorphous gray. But I had seen 
enough. I understood the Lady's deception. 

I willed her heart to stop and her lungs to 
cease breathing. My thoughts couldn't pen- 
etrate her basal ganglia. Those parts of her 
■brain were protected. I tried to open the in- 
ner door, to let in real vacuum, but it was 
locked from inside. No doubt another pre- 
programmed order in her ship's computer. 
She was safe from me. All I could do was 
buy a little time. I depolarized a few more 
cortical synapses so she would remain un- 

conscious for a little while longer. 

It was more than coincidence thai our two 
previous marks had part of their memories 
protected. They had been bait, to keep us 
occupied while help arrived, all disguises of 
the same person, the same Lady. She was 
no ordinary vark. Varks could not change 
both their appearance and persona at will. 

But she had made a mistake. She had 
blown her cover. We knew who she was now. 

If we were lucky, Risa and I could still es- 
cape. I took her hand, and we ran through 
methane snow. 

Our bags were packed, our loot safely 
hidden. We were ready to go. A gravship 
sailed in thirty minutes — we had already 
booked and confirmed passage. 

A bellmech picked up our baggage. Risa 
prowled back and forth in front of the door. 
"Hurry, Nate!" Her voice was an impatient 
hiss. "She wakes. We must leave at once." I 
seemed to have no ambition left. I was un- 
afraid. Nothing mattered, not even escape. 
Memories of dreams kept dancing in my 
head: skulls with yellow teeth clicking; bats 
fluttering; rats scurrying across bedclothes; 
demons howling with glee. They were my 
dreams, glimpsed in the Lady's raveling 
mind tapestry. Gray ghosts coalesced into 
unfamiliar faces. I knew what was wrong. 

"We can wait no longer." Risa came over 
to tug at my arm. With her touch, I too sensed 
the Lady waking. Dream filaments unrav- 
eled, weaving back into memory; a million 
children screamed in terror at the night, hud- 
dling beneath their blankets as specters 
shrieked their taunts. 

I knew what was wrong. The dreams 
winding were my own. The Lady shared my 
dreams, knew my nightmares. There was 
only one way that was possible. 

"We have to go now!" Risa shouted, 

I pulled free of her touch. "I can't leave," I 
said. "She knows who I am." 

"So do I." 

"Then tell me." 

"We don't have time." 

"Tell me." 

"I can't be the one. You would hate me too 
much." Her eyes held a cunning I had not 
noticed before. 

"Then I'll wait for the Lady. She might be 
more cooperative than you," 

Ri-sa's hand flashed out, slashing me 
across the cheek. "I love you too much," she 
said. Four lines stung my face. I touched my 
finger to the wetness on my skin, then licked 
the blood from its tip. Risa's eyes shimmered 
wet. She turned and ran out the door. 

A doll's face leered at me where she had 
been, with eyes that could not cry. 

I stood alone in the penthouse, staring out 
one of its facets. A gravship rase out of 
clinging mists and whispered sunward, Risa 
leaving. A part of myself was also leaving. 
We had been imprinted on each other and 
had worked together for five years. You 
couldn't be a path team without an empath. 
I had lost my eyes and ears, my taste, touch, 
and smell. But that was a less immediate 
problem. I'd made my choice. I might not get 

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another chanced exorcise ir.ysellol dream 
Demons— I ccuk.i no longei boor their taunts. 
I had to know who 1 had been. 

The door opened 'Someone walked into 
the room I turned to face her and slared into 

"I krt a , ■■ ,m H :..' ,■■.! 7: i "crme." she 

s one I recognizee; a cyrino named Kalv. 
Are you ical y Kaiy"-' One could never be 

I f -usl have ooked surpriseo 
She .at.ohed again "if i hadn't, someone 
3e would have. Your M.O. is too stereo- 
ped. All I had to do was set up the right 
srsonas as bail and you came to me like a 
olh lo a candle, -'cl. should have oeen 

escape unde 

ii' -;-. > ■ 1 -; Corps. We 

made sure yo 

■;■.:.<, ■■'--:■ r\.,ip iblcol caus- 

ing much trc 

i.o e. 3'k, uokco around. 

"Where's your 

ittlepet?" 1 oidn;, ike the nasty 

inflection she 

juton the word. 

"Gone. She 

coesn't hke unpleasanlncss." 

"Bui you he 

d to stay. You saw something 

irresistible rn 

my thoughls. You had to find 

out more." Sh 

j nl ed again but not with 

the sn ,.,i! •■■ • 

:_..■: igh: have exoeced. Her 

voice was ta 

nted with somelhing else, 'A 

shame you 

e not more cunning. You 

shouldn't lei 

outsell be so eas'y manipu- 
itioned for me to move. 

;:;;::-: ■ 

i, Her 

n ;>u 


crisp hole -1 nor swed"'rr,i 
forehead. The button moved. 

"Okay," she gasped, "You win." 

I lei tar d openec: soastr.odieally. The gun 
clattered to the floor. 

"What is it you wanl?" she asked. 

Twanl tenknow about myself. Everything 
you can toll me " 

"Fair enough. Bui is there any need to be 
so formal?" 

I let her cross Ihe room. She waved a hand 
through a laser beam; a circular bed rose 
from the floor, I let her lead me to it and lay 
with her on the wombskin. Our clothes came 
off arid dropped to the tloor. I would allow 
her one more ritual. 

"Let's not talk just yet." she said, smiling. 
Her lips began nibbling my skin. I knew she 
was stalling. ■■ 

"Tell me first," I said, 

"There'll be plenty of time fortalking later." 

J sharpened' knives in her mind. 

"Okay. What do you want to know?" 
"Why Ihe nightmares? Why are my geno- 

dreams ones of terror?" 

"Telepaihs were harder to engineer than 
empaths. I ought to know, I was once a 
genosurgeon lor Corps Inteli gence. I was in 
charge of the p-o.ect that c/ealeri your kind. 
Empaths were easy. There were lots of spe- 
cies with latent ernpaihr. ablites; dogs, cats. 
raptors, certain insects. Those genes were 
easily isolated. We found sphinxes were ideal 
hosts for those genes. But there were no 
known animal telepaths, just a few psycholic 
humans who did not live past puberty. And 
Ihey were rare. None were in existence when 
we needed them, So we had to create a 
telepath." Her voice caught for the first time. 

"And how was this done?" 

"Only a human brain was complex 
enough." Apologetically. "And it had to be 
one that had not yet developed nontele- 
pathic synapses — habits, if you will. Tele- 
pathic brains are extremely rare. We weren't 
monsters, we only did what we had to." 

"Which was?". 

"Millions of fetal brains were set up in vitro. 
All motor efteren:s we-'e severed: the brains 
were physiologically paralyzed. Then it was 
just a question of providing the stimuli and 
waiting for somelhing to develop." 

I visualized millions of tiny brains floating 
in bubbling culture media, with thousands 
of fine wires running to each. "What kind of 
stimuli?" I.asked. "Whal kind of dreams?" 

She smiled. "Oh, you know. Night terrors. 
Clin 1 i i ii gave them visages of 

your own choosing, from your own dreams. 
The terrors themselves were quite ab- 
stract—pure fear, if you will. Our computer 
merely stimulated Ihe r'gnt limbic nuclei. The 
fetal brains had to develop in a milieu of ter- 
ror and could do nothing about it, in a con- 
ventional way, wiih their motor efferents cut. 
They withered and died from fright." 

"Excepl one." 

"Except one, " she agreed. "One brain de- 
veloped differently. One brain survived. Mo- 
tor cortex convoluted in a strange new way. 
And one brain finally lashed out at its tor- 
mentors ihe only way it could— telepathi- 
cally. I'll always remember the images it sent 
into my mind. I'll never forget those dreams. 
Anyway, we'd tound our telepalhic brain. The 
potential had always been there, only the 
right conditions were necessary to bring out 
the latency. It was routine genosurgery to 
isolate the responsible genes." 

"Those genes were given to me?" 

"Of course. But we couldn't separate te- 
lepathy from night lerrors. The one predis- 
poses to the olher. Only a fearful mind is te- 
lepathic. So the brain must not completely 
mature. If it grows out of night terrors, il would 
also outgrow telepathy." She winked at me. 
"That's why you were picked. It was easier 
to make do with what we had." 

■ "What do you mean?" I suddenly felt con- 
lused, "What's so special about me?" 

"Don't tell me you believe your own cha- 
rade? A magician fooleo by his own tricks? 
How amusing." She thought briefly, "Of 
course. That last night before you deserled. 

Was it that traumatic'' Was I that bad?" 

"What about me ? Why was I sentenced to 
the Foreign Legions? Why were my memo- 
ries stolen from me?" 

"You killed a man," she answered simply. 
"You murdered a customer." Sweat shone 
from her skin. Her breasts bobbed. Her eyes 
.gleamed with more than jovelight. 
'A customer? What's that mean?" 
She laughed wickedly. "You broke the most 
sacred covenant of your guild. No punish- 
ment is too severe for your kind. Besides, I 
already told you we had to make do with 
physiotypes that were already hybridized. 
Only immature brains could be made tele- 
pathic. We needed brains that couldn't ma- 
nure. Your kind did nicely." 

She began changing in tront of me. Flesh 
remodeled, as though worms were wrig- 
gling beneath the- skin. Her honest cyrine 
face lost its black sheen and protective bony 
ridges around nose and eyes. It became a 
glob of congealed plastic. Another face grew 
out of the ruins of the first. I knew what crea- 
ture she was becoming. 
"Stop it!" I shouted. 

But the change was complete. A child 
straddled me, A child with a doll's features; 
upturned button of a nose, rosy-red cheeks, 
eyes the blue of robin eggs, soft curls of yel- 
low hair. Not a child, either. A pedirnorph. 

"Stop it. Change back to something less 
disgusting. I'm no pederast. I can make you 
change into something else." 

"Like you changec youisc-K?" The voice 
was high-pitched, with childish inflections. 
"Haven't you guessed what creature you are? 
What you always must be?" 

A hand intercepted a laser beam switch. 
A ceiling holomirror sprang to life overhead. 
I saw two naked dots locked n an obscene 
embrace. Both had identical features, I knew 
it was no illusion. Illusions were of my mak- 
ing. A doll's fabe came close. Doll's lips be- 
gan kissing mine, 

"Stop it!" I screamed. My hands circled 
the neck. My fingers squeezed tight. 

"Haven't you wondered why a genosur- 
geon would become a chameleon?" she 
asked. "If only I could change my dreams 
as easily as my body." She smiled, I 
squeezed harder. 

"Haven't you ever wondered how they de- 
mill chameleons? Can't you understand?" 
she forced out before her larynx was. 
crushed. An unpleasant image darted into 
my mind: a woman being skinned alive by 
sharp scalpels. And even that was not pun- 
ishment enough. I kept squeezing. Eyes 
bulged. The head slumped back, flaccid with 
paralysis. Drool ran between cyanotic lips. 
Blood dripped from ears and nostrils. I sud- 
denly remembered- killing once before: He 
had wanted to hurt me and had used an _ 
alphalash on me. I haled the lash. I couldn't 
stand it any longer, so I had hurt him instead. 
It had been worth it then. It would be worth 
it now. Then I remembered another night with 
Kaly. She had whipped me with an alpha- 
lash then, trying to hurt me enough that I 
would lash back at her telepathically. But my 

112 OMNI 

mind became osyc'iotic ms-ead; not want- 
ing to kill again, I created a delusion for my- 
self. Someone had helped me run away. 

A voice whispered in my ear, soothing, 
calming. Strong fingers tugged at mine, 
pulling them away one by one. Lips kissed 
my cheek. 


I couldn't leave you. 

I'm glad you came back. 

So am I. 

I almost killed the spook. She is Kaly. 

I know. That's what she wanted and 
planned. See? 

I could see the pattern in the spook's rav- 
eling mind tapestry, The gunrunner, the 
monk, and Lady Johan had all been real 
covers. She had really lost her lover, twice. I 
saw endless cycles of friendships broken, 
lovers betrayed, of hiding behind disguises, 
never allowing either true v sage or persona 
to be seen. Then I heard the cries of a million 
children, frightened to hysteria by the de- 
monic images carried by wires to their brains. 

QHer linger now 

slowly tightened against 

the stud. Her eyes 

< stared at the gun's muzzle, 

waiting for a 

quantum of light to flash 

out and bum a 

crisp hole in her forehead.^ 

Kaly had tried to get me to kill her once be- 
fore. Now she had tried again. The barriers 
were down. Her mind was unprotected. 

There's an easier way than death. 

There was. I flooded hippocampal gray 
with peptidases. Neurotransmitters were 
dissolved from synaptic pathways. Dreams 
spun out, their filaments melting like cob- 
webs in sunlight, never to be unraveled. 

The chameleon would remember nothing 
of us or of anyih'nc else since childhood. 
She would no longer be tormented by her 
.guilt. Risa and I leit together. 

In a cabin in a gravliner, Risa and I made 
love. Jupiter dwindled astern, its moons no 
more than brighter stars. Ahead lay the as- 
teroids and beyond them Mars and its two 
moons, We would catch up to our baggage 
somewhere along the way.' 

Our images were reflected from bur- 
nished brass; a lithe cat-woman entwined 
with a doll. As our bodies moved toward love, 
a mind tapestry raveled. I saw a strange 
melding ot imagery as though seen through 
both Risa and my eyes: of our life together 
on the run, then during the war. I saw my 
delusion of my appearance, ot the illusion I 

projected to others. Then new dreams un- 
twined: I saw myself performing a pedi- 
morph's ritual, being whipped with an al- 
phalash. all ending m the same strangling. I 
saw myself sold to a child broker so my fam- 
ily could survive a few more years. I remem- 
bered my siblings, fwas chosen because I 
was the fairest child. I remembered my par- 
ents. I loved them all again. I forgave them. 
Night terrors rose but could no longer 
frighten. I remembered myself again. 

My memories weren't taken away. 

Not completely Only hidden. 

And the delusion. I remembered orgasms 
I had never had. 

So you wouldn't have lo kill again. 

But you knew all the time? 

Laughter. Warm and pleasant. Of course. 
What can be hidden from me? 

You don't mind about me? What I am? 

More laughter. We've been imprinted to- 
gether. I love you as part of myself. The way 
you are. All of you. You are my voice. 

Why didn't you tell me? 

I was afraid you would want to change if 
you remembered you were a pedirnorph. I 
knew how you felt about it. You could have 
had your endocrine arrest reversed. I was 
afraid you would. Then you would neither 
want nor need me. I would lose you. 

AroT=-:-' realization struck. Then you knew 
about the chameleon all the time. You let her 
play her game with me, so I could find out 
about mysei' wiiheu: you telling me. 

A cat face grinned. Yes. Are you angry? 

Not now. I let a thought curl about the 
edges of my mind. / do have more than 
enough money lo buy a littie endosurgery. I 
could grow out of this doll's body. I could 
have real sex. 

Risa's mind was guarded; she kepi her 
feelings hidden. 

But then I would no longer have the gift. 
Or you. 

I kissed her. She knew what that meant 
and kissed me back. Bodies were unimpor- 
tant, merely to be looked upon. I could have 
any body I wanted, be any beauty that had 
ever been beheld by living eyes. Pleasures 
were just as fine no matter in whose neurons 
they first originated. And the spook had been 
right — we could be more than petty thieves 
rolling Johns. That was a phase out of my 
past, which had now been exorcised. 

I looked out the port— there were worlds 
to conquer out there. 

Risa and I touched. Our bodies moved to 
love, driven by resonating thoughts rather 
than tactile- stimuli. Beyond both the desire 
and the spasm, we remained touching, 
basking in the warmth o! ebbing love. 

I've saved the best for last. Her thoughts 
were sleepy. / no longer have lo guard any- 
thing from you. She dozed. 

I sail high above the ground on out- 
stretched wings, riding summer thermals. I 
howl ata moon of night I charge across dry 
veld; my terrible roar paralyzes my prey with 
fright. Talons slash. Claws rend. Fangs tear 
open throats, tongues lap warm blood. My 
mate runs beside me, proud. 
Dreams unwind. . . .DO 

4- : " 

1* *;/r 


ill "^' **rf !"■.•»< ^ * J 

*v i r 

-f, •»* \ii 




i .i* 



The secret lives of paper and rubber 

By Scot Morris 

Several years ago a young Chicago physi- 
cian, Thomas Kovachevich, had some 
leisure lime and decided to spend if paint- 
ing. It was a particularly humid day, and. 
he found himself with a problem familiar to 
artists — his drawing paper wouldn't lie 
Hat. Some papers are "alive" and respond 
to changes in temperature and humidity 
by curling up. The problem is well-known, 
and it makes some papers quite difficult to 
store, handle, and sell. 

Most paper has a preferred direction of 
curl, and anyone who has loaded a photo- 
copy machine knows that the paper has 
to go in with its curl a certain way. 

Rather than curse the problem, Kovach- 
evich decided to study it. He stapled 
several pieces of gummed paper toa wall 
in his studio and was. pleased to find, that 
they presented a meteorological mural, 
curling up on dry days and opening out on 
wet days — a sort of aesthetic hydrometer. 
This curling action is what warps your 
wooden doors .and curls up the posters 
and calendars you hang on your walls. A 
time-lapse film would show continuous, 
animallike movement. Kovachevich 
wondered if he could speed the motion 
so it could be seen by the naked eye. 

The problem was to put paper in abetting 
where humidity varied continuously; the 
solution was as simple as stretching a cloth 
membrane-over a pan of hot water. 
Kovachevich found that if he dropped 
small pieces of paper on the. cloth, they 
suddenly "came alive," writhing and turning 
like animated two-dimensional beings. 

In 1976, Kovachevich got a patent for his 
discovery, a method "for effecting continu- 
ous movement in fibrous materials," includ- 
ing everything from paper to wood veneer, 
to animal skin. He marketed a presentation 
of his brainchild, called Paper Comes 
Alive, through the Museum of Contemporary 
Art. in Chicago. It included a large book 
with paper of the appropriate thickness, a 
flat plastic tray, and a sheet of Scotchguard- 
treated polyester, The first printing sold 
ou: and wasrv, reissued: so now thereis no 
"official version" to buy. The only way to '" 
view the phenomenon is with homemade' 
materials, and Dr. Kovachevich has given us 
permission to print here, for the' first time 

116 OMNI 

anywhere outside his own book-package, 
the complete instructions for making 
paper come alive. 


You will need some hot water, a deep 
container such as a soup bowl or coffee cup. 
a semipermeable membrane such as a 
handkerchief or a piece of polyester fabric, 
and some very thin paper (onion skin 
would work well) that you have cut into small 

the twisting and turning continues until 
either (he paper gets too wet to move or 
the water gets too cool to vaporize quickly. 
Kovachevich has hopes for his discovery 
beyond its value as a scientific curiosity 
or an artistic medium. He hopes it might 
someday prove to be a means ot tapping 
the power of evaporation. This would 
complement the tamiliar forms of hydro- 
power — dams and water wheels — by 
using the water on the "upward" side of its 

shapes — triangles, circles," and long paral- 
lelograms, for example. 

Put some hot (but not boiling) waterJn 
the container. Stretch the cloth over the rim, 
then dropa couple of pieces of paper on 
top. They will suddenly "comealive," twisting, 
squirming, and turning over with snakelike 
undulations. As the paper inches toward .the 
rim of the container, you can readjust the 
cloth so the paper stays in the middle. 

What is going on here? As the- water vapor 
comes through the cloth, it collects on the 
bottom side of the paper, which expands, 
relative-to the top side, and the paper curls 
up. This exposes the moist paper surface 
to the air, so the moist side dries out and 
curls the other way. As opposite-sides of * 
the'paper keep getting wet and drying off, 

cycle, as it ascends into the atmosphere. 

This could be a huge resource. When the 
Aswan High Dam, in Egypt, was com- 
pleted — after 15 years of work and billions 
of dollars spent — it caused the Nile to 
spread into a lake so large that an enormous 
amount of water was lost to evaporation. 
As a result, only four of the dam's ten 
turbines were powered, and only half of the 
land got the expected irrigation. 

Might there be a way to harness this 
power— to stretch huge screens over bodies 
of water, put fibrous material on top, and 
convert the resulting motion into energy? The 
idea may seem an impossible dream, but 
surely it is no more farfetched than some 
other proposals we have heard lor alternate 
energy sources. In the meantime, 

making paper come alive is a remarkable 
new demonstration of kitchen magic that 
you can perform anytime with just paper, a 
thin cloth, and hot-water. 


Another brand-new bit of magic, the 

boomerang band, was- a "nontrick" for mora 
than ten years. 

The Indian rope trick is the most famous 
nontrickjn magic It starts when a fakir's 
rope climbs into thin air, and a smaii assistant 
climbs the rope to the top and disappears-. 
It has been described many times but 
never firsthand. No reputable observer has 
ever seen it. The weight of opinion among 
magicians is that the trick doesn't exist and 
never did. 

In the boomerang band, a magician 
shoots a rubber band off his finger, and the 
rubber band lands on the.flo.or and rolls 
back to him. This nontrick started as a 
practical joke.qn Dai Vernon, who is recog- 
nized as the dean of American magicians. 
In 1971 a group of magicians in Southern 
California planned, a vacation trip to Tijuana 
and other, points south of the border. 
Among them were Frank Garcia, Tony 
Slydini, and Mike Skinner. They wanted Dai 
Vernon to join them, but the Professor, as 
he was called, wasn't interested. Try as 
they might to persuade him, Vernon wouldn't 
budge. Garcia recalls that the gang of 
three left and enjoyed themselves over the' 
weekend but regretted that the Professor 
hadn't come along. They wanted to get 
even with him and decided that the best 
way to make.him sorry he had stayed 
home was to come back with stories of an 
incredible magician they had seen who 
■performed unheard-of miracles. 

Garcia, Slydini, .and Skinner found a 
willing Mexican- bartender who posed for 
several "impossible" photos. In one-shot, he 
had turned a deck of cards into eight 
"fans," one between each pair of fingers. 
He also posed with coinsin difficult grips 
and with rubber bands stretched between 
his fingertips. -■ 

When the magicians returned to Los 
Angeles they ignored Vernon and would 
stop talking, when he came around. Finally, 
when Vernon apologized for not joining 

them, they explained that they weren't mad 
but were just sorry he had missed seeing 
some of the most -incredible feats they 
had ever witnessed. They told him about 
the bartender who could fan, and . 
they produced the Polaroid pictures to 
prove it. "We told Vernon that the man was 
named Jose Vergas" Garcia told us. That 
translates as Joe Schmuck. 

When Vernon asked what Vergas's most 
astounding trick was, Garcia and his 

■cohorts told him that the man shot a rubber 
band to the. floor and that the band stood 
up and rolled back to his feet! 

This was the story that Vernon found 
hardest to believe, so it was the one the 
magicians repeated the most often. For 
many years the boomerang band trick lived 
only in legend— a nontrick that was talked 
about but that no magician had ever seen. 
Several magicians had tried to come up 
with methods to make the trick work, but 
none were successful. 

Enter Michael Weber, a twenty-three- 
year-old magician who is rapidly gaining a 
reputation as a creator of brand-new 
magical. effects. In one, he borrows a 
diamond ring from a woman in his audience, 
and the ring mysteriously disappears, He 

3S, then produces a sealed Cracker 
Jack box The woman opens it, fishes out 
the sealed paper envelope, and finds 
that the "toy"jnside is her missing diamond 
ring. In another trick, Weber takes a 
charcoal briquette and squeezes it between 
his hands, producing steam and glowing 
embers. When he opens his hands, the 
charcoal has been transformed into a 
sparkling diamond. 

In the mid-Seventies, Weber applied his 
creative-mind to the legendary boomerang 
band trick, and by 1981 he had come up 
with a way to do it. He has given us 
permission to divulge the method to Omni 
readers, and it is revealed here for the 
first time anywhere, outside of private 
manuscripts sold only to magicians. 

First, you must get a rubber band that is 
round— not oblong; — when it lies on a 
flat surface. This shape will make it roll 
better. Position your right hand so that the 
thumb and little finger point rigidly in 
opposite directions, and stretch the rubber 
band between them. It helps to hook the 
band under the thumbnail and fingernail. 
This step is shown at top left. 

Position your hand so that it is vertical to 
the floor, and press down on the top of 
the band with your right index finger, as 
shown. This increases the distance the top 
of the band must travel between the 
thumb and little finger, which produces 
backspin. Release the band by bending in 
the right thumb. It will shoot off the little 
finger and fly through the air, spinning 
backward. When the band lands on the 
floor, the backspin will cause it to roll back 
to your feet. Shoot the band onto a wide, 
flat surface with no obstructions, such as a 
carpet or a cement or wooden floor. 

Be forewarned that the trick isn't easy; it 
takes a lot of practice. You can expect to 
fail at it many times before you finally get it 
right. The most difficult part is making 
sure the band-lands standing straight up 
and down— like a wheel or a thrown Hula- 
Hoop — and not horizontally. At any rate, 
we can verify that the trick does work and 
that the boomerang band is a legend — 
and nontrick — no more.DO 


»■ Bora 


By Michael Ferris 


of NASA,, the 
' National Artificial 

Stupidity Association, 
:'.'' " . - : '"; - 
■ -confused- with those 

space people," 

■he is quick to point out* ■ 

:■ :;-:;; .- A K-.. '.'■ ;■ ■■ , ■! ■ ! . . 1 ' 

programmed a basic rialher nation: prob'ern 
into' his prototypical Ack'on ! computer. 
His request was simply " me the sum 

Of i: 

ten." The computer's quick answer 157; was 
unexpected, to say the east Wrth graving 

i! ■! ■<■,:. Si if : '■■ ■ ■'!■!■.; ato"' 
or the /nae bine's reasoning. The printout 
read as follows: rue iecim -oc-q fcuMBtir is 
fi^;js. ■ uip--icroaEOKOSv "o irtTEnenr- i 

A few moments' later, then, 
addendum: iguessi'mean/i ■ 
'■ Followed shorily thereaffe 


Anyone doing conventional research 
would .undoubtedly have -consigned the ■ 
hapless computer to '.he scrap heap but lor 
Bo; the Ackron is response ''oprs- 

■ ■■! ■ ■ ■, ill. i'. ; : -II . . I I : ' '.'i' .■.■■■ ! 
■:&r.: diiik/.a Stupidity. 

Beran It head of NASA the National 
A; Ki;c;a- Stupidity Association ('Not io be 
confused with 'hose space people," he 
is quick io point out), a idosely knit 'band of 
oorrpuier-sehoo- dropouts cu^ei'liy 
..occupying an abandoned f.'a'eraly house 
S'iyoi : lew ■■■ 

: i! :■■■: ;,!..■,' i io 0' i 1 ';.'" C ver [.( 

developments in arliilciai intehgenco/ 
Borer axoiains. 'bur relatively iriiu emonasls 
en stupidity. Dumbness is. h many ways, 
a iar more Difficult quality io synthesize 
Lhan.inteli'-gencci.'Hurrian beings' have a . 
remarkable capacity 'or fallacious reasoning. 

iOQii ,.■ ■' ii ■ ii.ii i' '■!'■ i'l'i :'■ . ! i' 

ignorance- traits thai are unique :o them 

anc a'ier io 

i ■ it ■ ■■■■. QOa ■■ i.C :■'■■■■■ I"' i 

program tnatcan aa ho 

lull variety ot human aiuofoilies." 

Those initial errors ol the Ackron I. involv- 
ing the total inability^ et.or follow ' 
even simple oirocTons. as '.veil as a n'orocc 
:eve! of mathematical com pel en he. were 
a prorating s:art. Since then.'Boran and hs 
staff have made numerous ether significant 
breakrhioughs, among sheen: 
• A program known as IOMBH fan scronyrr 
■for ,: i did mybesi. honest." the computer's 

. . i !■■■( ... ■!■ ,■■ ,■■ !fd ia ■ r: No O-niy 

has IDMBH thus tar tailed to solve a single 
problem or even retrieve one pieco of 

-;■■;.: i :■!,: r U . ,0 ■■:'!. .1 ' '!! 

Hi/ ■ ii n :. i .!■■■:■ 


it to . 

* Non sequiiur BG-l. a particularly costly 
program to design, duo tc the vast amount 

I i -.t ial on : d ■:-. ■ ic-TCd n \' 

iocnmulatcd data, the 
S0<3 'ails to respond to any toques! -n 
even a ■remotely organized fashion,. instead 
■tanswers with a speculative oafa . . / 

response - ■ ■!. ■ :■; ad by siting 

through and spitting on' data In what 
amounts to a random process. Tor instance, 

."when asked to p:ov:de a brief ruabow.non 
'esrtnauake zonae '.ha/, might showaoiivi'y 
in the next five years, the B04 supplied 
save ■ hue ■■■■•;-. inci ling 

. .■ ,i . . i 

poini!ess-Vai:3na«/:al.iori. program. Agg?e- 
pcsl's unique "stupidity factor" is not ba.sec 
on its consisient !a.:;:b ; li:y i:\fl rather on 'he 

■ obnoxious extent io whid ; the prosgrarn 

' will go to defend, lis erroneous conclusions 

Atypical exchange with Aggrepost 
was one in which one of BOran's senior 
assertion that'vhe city oTTsiuanais militarily 

:.■.!■:. . i'iCi- ii ;■/ 

back cown. Aggreposi proceeded to 
support ,1s claim wilh a .slew ot fictitious 
:"facts" and "evidence.'' including reports oi 

Ifi , ■! : '■■■■■,.;■ ■ :."!■ ii ■ ■ ■■ k'I' n. :.,, 

ar;fied v^r-h. cheap pottery. 
...These developments -are -certainly .3 far 

/-.programs, in 
v. ,..,.■■ 

more sophisticated than' i cave up how wa^;-- 
or vou :rv.L v'E. Despite th.;s impressive 
■ .1 .. . i . . 

over the whole discipline el artificial stupidly, 
a ciLiestion iaced by all ground/breaking 


For an answer, NASA'. went l'o its. own 
GLIB 5000. one of a 
models designed io present icanltipsin 
as scpii.sficated a manner as oessible. 
i ii ■ , ■■■a , as loiiovvc 

■ ASLEiEVil.v.-r.:.:-: ^lOCAI'l/ST.IiAi-^Oi OM-ViS 

. i^vOUVEDi'v CONDLJCT^.GIt iTIS.iN MC v WA'i 
I ■ ■ il I : ■ ,!■■'■ I !■ ■! 


a;s. AND-jaiMAicLVACHitvNe 


■Arthur Boian's answer is raore eown-fc- 
earlh: "All of us. at one point or another, 
have received a phone ■bill tor one million 
doliars or a i.ietime supply of indust.rai- 
slrengih otter poison What are these 
inevitably at'jlbrite' Computer error.' o ; 
coarse, it's dl-fieuit for humans to really 

jrnputeris screwing up. 
By designing programs that accurately 
simulate ■ urran s(up : gily, we have made t 
a simple 'natter fo- scientists Io perceive 
at once what their computer is doing wrong 
Right new World War lit coule be inggerec 
because oi some overload In a silicon 
chip controlling a NORAD missileallo. 
Wouldn't it be oi some consolation to have 
a wore oi expianahori Irom the computet 
sorneltiiug like cops. ,-i<c:.v' : i-ais... -/'." 
: i. .■■■■,:...::.■■■. ■ ' i ■ ■ 

■<■;■■■;■£>: :■ 

tbe tempted to call Boran's 
reasoning', well, '.stupid. But In all probao : it^ 
Ite'd take thai as a cgmpiiment.Oa